Sorry for the delay on this one… Eight days ago, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission approved the Ford Transit Connect for immediate use within NYC. Taxi-conscious TTAC readers will remember that this board rather controversially approved the Nissan NV200 as the Taxi Of Tomorrow a few months back. At the time, a source within Ford told me that “the battle isn’t over yet,” and this appears to be proof.
It seems reasonable that a few New York taxi fleet operators will load up on Transit Connects between now and 2013, when the “Taxi Of Tomorrow” is standardized. The Transit Connect is already providing good service in a few other cities and Ford had a parts infrastructure for it in place now.
To appease the nice folks at Nissan, who no doubt have their noses a bit out of joint at the threat to their guaranteed monopoly two years from now, the TLC has also approved non-hybrid Altimas for use in the city. Surely everyone now understands that this whole ridiculous process of “approving” vehicles is unnecessary, unwanted, and probably corrupted beyond the possibility of rescue.
This Transit Connect approval, combined with the livery-spec MKT, gives Ford a one-two punch to replace the Panthers currently prowling around New York City. Not that it really matters all that much: I cannot find any estimates of taxi/”black car” numbers in New York that exceed 20,000. Of those, 13,000 are taxis. How vital is it to sell 13,000 vehicles over the next ten years? That’s a month’s worth of Fusion sales, or ten years’ worth of Acura ZDX sales. Hey, there’s an idea! Introducing the Taxi Of The Distant Future: The Acura ZDX.