NYC’s Next Taxi: the Nissan NV200

Nissan NV200 NYC taxi

You know, we were kind of pushing for the Karsan entry, but New York’s taxi commission went with a modified version of a Nissan van, already produced for Japan, China and Europe, which will be built in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The specific taxi modifications required will be done in the U.S.

As you might expect, the decision made some people unhappy. The Nissan has no provision for wheelchair access (though it can be added at taxi-owner expense), so advocates for the disabled were not pleased.

Others thought it was wrong to pick a firm that won’t build the cars in the U.S. While Karsan offered to do this, in Brooklyn, Mayor Bloomberg said there wasn’t sufficient time to approve and build the facility. So Turkey (where the Transit Connect is also built) is out, and Mexico is in.

Nissan NV200 taxiWe’re talking about 13,200 cars and a $1 billion contract for Nissan. The old Ford Crown Victorias will be phased out by 2018, and Nissan will have some version of the Leaf running in the city for a possible phase-in of all-electric cabs in the future.

But the deal has great positives for Nissan beyond New York, as other cities could follow in adopting the NV200. And the potential for more commercial van production is great, since the car is already up and running elsewhere, and like the Crown Vic, it will benefit from the New York deal’s halo effect.

In the video below you can hear the rather dorky remarks of the city’s mayor, Mr. Bloomberg. Also, test your powers of language comprehension: Can you understand the comments of the taxi driver at 1:39? I can’t.

The Nissan has a lot of nice features. It gets twice the mileage of the Crown Vic—about 25 mpg—and

sliding doors will provide better ingress/egress to a spacious passenger space. Notable comforts include a passenger-controlled air conditioning system, mobile charging ports, and reading lights. A transparent roof will allow riders to take in the skyscraper scenery.

Do you think the selection of Nissan’s NV200 as New York City’s next taxi is a good deal for New York? Did the city make the right choice?

—jgoods

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  1. Tyson
    | #1

    Good to hear the fuel efficiency is doubled! Now they just need to build them in the US, or better yet an american brand built in the US! Apparently that is too much to ask in this global economic environment. I’ve been reading this blog since 2009, and I still think its disturbing that you and Travis or (Tgriffith I believe) were pulling for a taxi from the middle east. Just Sayin. I live part time in Manhattan and while the many cultural influences are second to none, that doesn’t mean we should forget where and what we are.

  2. jgoods
    | #2

    @ Tyson
    Ideally, you are right—an American brand built in the U.S. But the commission certainly had to consider other things, namely: Nissan came in at the lowest price; it has worldwide experience with the NV200, which has all the features people want; and it presently builds 75% of its cars in the U.S. From what I read, I thought the Karsan was the better choice but they didn’t have experience in the U.S. market, and that played against them. The Ford Transit Connect is a Turkish product with a Ford nameplate.

    The auto business is so globalized now that where a car gets built almost doesn’t matter—except to the bottom line (and shareholders) of the company. Car companies have had to rebuild their abilities to compete in this market, and I think they are doing that, especially GM, which had farther to come. And we will be getting more factories here (transplants) from abroad.

  3. Tyson
    | #3

    Thanks for the informative response; like everything these days there, is typically alot more going on behind the scenes then anyone realizes. Keep the posts coming!

  4. Randy
    | #4

    I guess I’m confused. I thought the NYC taxi companies were private business, but I forget that NYC has turned into a fascist economy where private business is completely controlled by the politicians. No wonder it is ten years since 9/11 and the ground zero site is a construction site. This would have been finished five years ago if it was anywhere else. That said, you can see just how much lip service this “buy American” movement is in the USA. Fuel mileage is irrelevent in a taxi, the customers pay the fuel costs and I can guarantee you that fares will NOT go down in NYC because the taxis get twice the mileage.

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