Judge Nixes Nissan’s $1b New York City Taxi Plan

New York’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ deal with Nissan voided by judge

The “Taxi of Tomorrow” initiative, which was to go into effect October 28, would have required every new taxi to be a Nissan NV200. Nissan was given a contract worth an estimated $1 billion in 2011 after a competition. Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler ruled that the Taxi and Limousine Commission had overstepped its authority. In part, he relied on the same legal argument that doomed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to ban large sugary drinks from city eateries, saying the commission had infringed upon the City Council’s powers. “The notion that New York City should have one exclusive ‘iconic’ New York City taxicab is a policy decision that is reserved for the City Council,” he wrote. The city’s chief lawyer, Michael Cardozo, said in a statement, “We believe the Court’s decision is fundamentally wrong, and we intend to appeal immediately.” When the 10-year contract was awarded, Nissan officials said they expected to provide as many as 26,000 vehicles to the city’s taxi fleet over the deal’s lifetime. Travis Parman, a Nissan spokesman, said the company was considering its options, but it would still sell the vehicle to interested fleet owners. “We are disappointed in the court’s decision, but it will not prevent our plan to start upgrading the NYC taxi fleet with the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow at the end of the month,” he said. The ruling was the second time a state judge has blocked the plan, after Justice Peter Moulton in Manhattan ruled in May that the initiative failed to comply with city regulations allowing taxi operators to buy hybrid vehicles. The taxi commission then revised the plan to permit hybrid models until Nissan provides a hybrid version of the NV200. The lawsuit was brought by Evgeny Freidman, a major city fleet operator, and the Greater New York Taxi Association, who claimed the commission did not have the power to force taxi operators to purchase a particular vehicle.

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Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Judge nixes Nissan’s $1B New York City taxi plan Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY 7:45 p.m. EDT October 8, 2013 The ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ will no longer be the exclusive cab of the Big Apple A prototype of the Nissan NV 200 New York City taxi (Photo: Richard Drew AP) Story Highlights A judge has rejected a commission’s plan to make Nissan the exclusive New York City taxi Nissan had planned to sell $1 billion of its NV200s over 10 years The taxi was specially built for New York City SHARECONNECT 1 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE Plans to flood New York’s streets with the Taxi of Tomorrow hit a roadblock Tuesday when a judge ruled that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission went too far when it ordered operators to buy a only a single brand of vehicle. The big loser in this case is Nissan, which has specially equipped its NV 200 as the “Taxi of Tomorrow” in a deal worth $1 billion over 10 years. In an action brought by taxicab operators, state Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler in Manhattan says the commission can’t require the purchase of a particular vehicle under the city charter. Nissan had gone to great lengths to try to outfit the perfect taxicab, with germ-killing seat upholstery, rear-seat video, big sliding doors and “low-annoyance” horns. Plus, the taxis are far more fuel efficient than the Ford Crown Victorias they replace. But at $29,700, the taxis are pricey. Nissan issued a statement saying it is undeterred. “We are disappointed in the court’s decision, but it will not prevent our plan to start upgrading the NYC taxi fleet with the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow at the end of the month,” the statement says. “Given the specific NYC taxi research and development that we have conducted, we are confident that the Nissan taxi provides optimal safety, comfort and convenience for passengers and drivers alike. We are evaluating options for next steps regarding the exclusivity contract.” The court ruling opens the door to a raft of other automakers, many of whom already have footholds in the New York taxi fleet. One is Ford, which just unveiled the 2014 version of its Transit Connect taxi. It has been scratching to stay in the New York market, where Transit Connects and Escape Hybrid SUVs are already part of the mix.