THEY are usually spotted on the streets of Bangkok, Mumbai or Jakarta but colourful three-wheeled tuk-tuks are soon to hit the streets of Hampshire.
An entrepreneur from Locks Heath has quit his day job and invested in the auto-rickshaws, shipping 12 of them in from China.
David Goodyer has the tuk-tuks in storage at the former Haslar Hospital in Gosport, after they arrived in the country last week.
Now the 47-year-old former financial advisor is hoping to sell them on to various businesses, and to expand his own business by ordering another 200.
He said: ‘There’s been so much interest. We have only just launched our website and we’ve already had so many enquiries.’
The tuk-tuks have six seats, are electric and cost about £3,000. They can travel up to 30mph and for 100 miles before needing to be recharged.
David said this makes them ideal for use in private grounds, such as in hotels or in business parks, and he hopes that people will buy them to set up taxi businesses too.
He said: ‘People won’t be buying them to go miles, but they’re cheaper to run than golf buggies, and they are more fun.
‘I already have interest from places like breweries and pubs, who see the potential in advertising on them and using them for their customers.
‘There are places in the UK, such as in Liverpool, where the council has allowed them to run as taxis and that’s something I’d like to see happen here, in Portsmouth and in Gosport.’
David, a dad-of-five, first saw the tuk-tuks on holiday and said to his friends that he wanted to bring them to the UK.
When he got home, he searched the internet to buy the vehicles and found that it was almost impossible, so he decided to go to the Chinese manufacturer directly and put in a bespoke order.
He now has an exclusive deal with the factory to produce the colourful machines, which have had sides added to them to keep out the English weather.
David said: ‘Everybody who sees them likes them. They are unusual and fun, and they make people smile.’