Agency: Taylor & Wilshart Author: Chris Rackaby

Reliant Metrocabs: Grabbing the Cab Driver (How Advertising Successfully Promoted a Promotion)


Any cab driver will tell you that historically, the vast majority of cabs have been manufactured and sold by Carbodies of Coventry. In 1987 Metro Cammell Weymann launched a new product: the Metrocab, in an attempt to break this monopoly and establish itself as a major player in the 5.5 million a year black cab market. Unfortunately, it met with a number of teething troubles and, in June 1989, sold its by now troubled business to the Reliant Group. At the time of this purchase the Reliant Group's core business was the manufacture of the three-wheel Reliant Robin, the little car made famous by 'Del Boy' in the BBC's Only Fools and Horses, so many industry pundits were surprised when Reliant bid for Metrocab. However a number of factors made the acquisition an attractive one for Reliant.

  • The company, as a result of its long experience with the Robin, already had the glass-fibre expertise used in MCW's original designs for the glass-fibre body of the Metrocab;
  • Reliant needed to broaden its product base, as sales of the Robin were falling;
  • Reliant's management felt that the Metrocab was an excellent product that had failed to fulfil its potential, because it had been poorly marketed.