With streets that have been compared to those of a third-world nation, New York places the toughest demands on a car’s underbodies and suspension. For solutions, Nissan apparently dismantled retired cabs and looked at a bunch still running.
Besides broken and rusted suspensions, their team found really stinky cabs with scratched and broken partitions, torn vinyl, plus all the other kinds of wear and tear you’d expect. Manhattan streets don’t have deeper potholes than other places; it’s just that the cabs drive over them much more frequently.
Two weeks ago, I rode in some pretty decent New York cabs, including the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Fusion Hybrid (which is still kind of cramped). But the new NV200 will be the first cab since the old Checker to be designed specifically for the job.
That design will include:
- a panoramic sunroof
- special lights for reading and entry/exit
- passenger-controlled air conditioning
- flat floor and sliding doors
- lots of cargo space
- power outlets to charge computers and smartphones.
Nissan is conducting an ad campaign in conjunction with the cab’s appearance at the New York Auto Show, where it will be introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Two more boring speakers I can’t imagine.
Of course, the campaign hopes to establish the new taxi as an icon in its own right and also promote the fact that Nissan is introducing “five all-new models” in its regular line over the next 15 months. I saw one of these billboards (right) and was less than impressed.
The new cab will be phased in starting next year to replace some 13,000 taxis from nine carmakers now running in New York. It’s a $1 billion deal for Nissan.
Do you think New Yorkers will take to the new Nissan cab? I’ll bet they will.