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.
We’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?