As if Japan's fleet of Toyota Crown and Nissan Cedric taxi cabs wasn't enough of a cultural identifier—they boast doily seats and an automatic rear passenger door—Toyota thinks it can build an even better cab. Not just better, but one that will carry people from all over the world for the 2020 Olympic games and inspire new "Japan enthusiasts."
It's what you see here, the JPN Taxi that debuted on Tuesday at the Tokyo auto show.
Toyota thinks the new taxi has the right ingredients to become a cultural icon, though it's certainly very different from current production cabs. Foremost, it features a profile similar to London's iconic black cab with a tall roof and power sliding doors for greater wheelchair access. Toyota's new taxi features an equally forward-thinking powertrain, too. The automaker didn't provide lengthy specifics, but it's a hybrid powertrain that runs on liquefied petroleum gasoline.
After 21 years of Toyota Crown production, the old sedan-based taxi cabs are due for retirement this year. Toyota hopes to launch this new taxi cab ahead of the previously mentioned Olympic games, which Tokyo will play host to in nearly two years. The automaker hopes the new taxi's design puts tourists in a "Japanese mindset" upon boarding, especially as ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft grow in popularity.
We're sure locals and Japanese automotive fans alike will miss the old sedans, which date back to the mid-1990s, but at least the new cab retains the familiar hood-mounted mirrors.