Innova

The Toyota Innova will join the Proton Exora in the Teksi 1 Malaysia (TEKS1M) fleet, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has confirmed. The 2.0 litre seven-seater Toyota MPV, already used as a blue executive taxi, is set to be unveiled as a TEKS1M tomorrow, The Star reports.

Earlier this month, SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the Commission had reviewed its decision on insisting that only the Exora be used for TEKS1M. “We are now open to other ­vehicles, provided they are Malay­sian-made,” he said.

Two years ago, SPAD decided that only the Proton Exora was to be used for TEKS1M. The move was greeted with protests back then, with some quarters claiming that it was anti-competition.

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TEKS1M is intended for the Klang Valley, Johor Baru and Penang. The Exoras are golden brown in colour, and a SPAD source has confirmed that the Innovas will sport the same hue.

TEKS1Ms must provide more space for ­passengers and luggage, dedicated air-con vents for passengers, leather seats, credit card readers for cashless transaction, ­factory-fitted natural gas tanks, GPS-based dispatch system as well as safety features such as passenger airbags, the daily mentioned, although we’re not sure if a front passenger airbag is of any benefit to taxi passengers.

Word that the Innova will be accepted as TEKS1M surfaced in May. Understandably, Proton and related parties aren’t too chuffed about it.

“I don’t understand why SPAD wants to add a foreign carmaker to the TEKS1M fleet. I still feel the Proton Exora is already a good car to perform as the one and only vehicle for TEKS1M. SPAD should have consulted us before reaching any decision,” Delivery Special CEO Ismail Datuk Haron said last month.

While acknowledging a “piston issue” with the Exora, as frequently highlighted by cabbies, Ismail believes these to be isolated cases. The real problem is the delay of vehicle loan approvals by Bank Simpanan Nasional to cabbies struggling to meet the eligible requirements, he added, saying that about 2,000 Exoras are waiting to be delivered from his company’s yards.