Fans of the W123 Mercedes better book the next flight to Marrakech. If the Moroccan government has its way, the country’s ubiquitous fleet of W123 taxi cabs will be scrapped, in favor of Renault and Dacia minivans.
Around 55,000 W123 taxis (the vast majority 240D models) are set to be targeted under the program, with Morocco’s Interior Ministry citing safety and environmental concerns. Instead, drivers will be pushed towards two models – the Renault Trafic, which is a large commercial van, and the locally-made Dacia Lodgy compact minivan.
According to Ran When Parked
The government will pay around 50,000 Dirhams (roughly $6,100 / €4,400 / £3,600) per w123 and Renault – Dacia will provide up to 10,000 Dirhams (approximately $2,700 / €2,000 / £1,600) towards the purchase of a new car or van.
A brand new Lodgy costs about $18,000 USD, while a Trafic retails for about $27,000 USD. The subsidies would drastically reduce the price of a new Lodgy, which would also have the benefit of supporting a locally made vehicle. Both the Trafic and Lodgy will provide a safer alternative to the standard practice of shoving 7 passengers in a five-seater vehicle (that is now 30 years old, at minimum), while also offering much cleaner diesel engines.
(Correction: the currency rates cited are incorrect. 10,000 Dirhams works out to about $1,277 USD. Thanks to reader minivanman for the tip-DK)