A New York State Supreme Court judge on Tuesday voided Nissan’s contract with New York Citys’ Taxi and Limousine Commission that would have forced taxicab operators to buy and use taxis based on the Nissan NV200 van. According to Automotive News, Judge Shlomo Hagler said that the commission “exceeded its authority” by awarding Nissan the exclusive ten year contract to supply New York City’s taxis. The ruling was the outcome of a lawsuit filed against the commission by the Greater New York Taxi Association.
Nissan beat out Ford and a Turkish company in a 2011 competition to win the contract, part of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” concept, which involved a standardized fleet of identical purpose-built taxis. Nissan had hoped that the contract would be the foundation of a global marketing plan for the NV200 taxis.
Judge Hagler said that the taxi commission lacked “the authority to contract with a third party vendor to manufacture a vehicle that would be the exclusive taxi for the City of New York for the next ten years and medallion owners will be mandated to purchase.”
Nissan issued a statement saying that the ruling will not delay their plans to sell taxis in New York City. “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 company said.
“We are evaluating options for next steps regarding the exclusivity contract,” Nissan added in its statement. Nissan designed the taxi version of the NV200 with features meant to appeal to cab operators, passengers and politicians alike, including a see through roof so tourists can enjoy the skyscrapers, and ample anti-microbial seating that features rear seat phone chargers. Hybrid and electric versions are planned.
Despite the loss of the exclusive supply contract, Nissan insists that cab operators will embrace their hack. “Given the specific NYC taxi research and development that we have conducted,” Nissan said, “we are confident that the Nissan taxi provides optimal safety, comfort and convenience for passengers and drivers alike.”