Recent news of American automakers experiencing economic difficultly over the past few years has inevitably sparked an interest in foreign transportation. The wealthy have gravitated toward these brands of vehicles as they have been considered “luxury,” considering their high-end features and sleek body designs. Among the aristocratic population are the taxi fleet owners of New York City, who arranged to have the auto industry giants present a new-and-improved taxi model for the future.
The final winner of the contest would receive a $1 billion contract from the mayor to begin supplying the city with new wheels. It turns out that the Japanese-based company Nissan won the vote of Michael Bloomberg after all.
Dates & Specifications
Nissan beat out Ford Motor Company and Karsan to replace 13,000 old cabs in New York City over the next decade. The new model is valued at $29,000 per cab and has a gas mileage index of about 25 mpg, nearly twice that of the Crown Victoria that currently roams the streets looking for pedestrians in need of a lift.
The new Nissan van, which is handicap accessible and has the ability to convert to an all-electric engine, has almost 10 inches of extra leg room for a comfortable four passengers, separate temperature controls, anti-bacterial, nonstick seating and a variety of other technological upgrades. Cab riders will be able to charge their phones and laptops, along with USB port options, while the driver has the reliability of GPS navigation. Beginning in 2014, the current Crown Victoria by Ford will be phased out and every cab in New York City will be powered by Nissan by the year 2017.
This is where it gets interesting.
“Ford offered the Transit Connect van, but city officials found the model problematic and uninspired. New York also thumbed down the Karsan model because of perception that the Turkish car manufacturing firm has little experience in the American transport market (Hernandez, 2011).” But it appears that the consultant who evaluated the designs, Ricardo Incorporated, has been previously employed by both Ford and Nissan! Some groups believe that this may have heavily impacted the voting process, and an investigation into the matter is currently underway.
Nonetheless, the contract will help Japan recover from the devastating natural disasters that are still causing some problems in their country. If it turns out that this influenced the final decision to choose Nissan, I’m sure that no one will complain, especially the fans who are very excited to see the new cabs in action.