For the first time ever, the City of New York, is reaching out to auto manufacturers to design a taxi-cab for the big apple; the city is holding a design contest and has narrowed the field down to three automakers; Nissan, Ford, and Karsan USA, a Turkish car maker that makes vehicles for Fiat and Hyundai. The current fleet of 13,200 yellow taxi”s that scurry along the city”s streets is comprised of 16 vehicle models from nine manufacturers, with the Ford Crown Victoria being the fleet”s anchor. Of the 13,200 vehicles, nearly 4,000 are hybrids.
With the Crown Vic discontinued, the city set in search of a replacement. Traditionally, the city would set standards for taxi cabs, and private garages would outfit standard vehicles to bring them compliant with the city standards. This time, the city wanted to reach out the manufacturers directly to develop a car that can withstand the 70,000 miles per year and 60 to 70 door slams per day that NYC taxi”s are subject to.
“Although the city has long set standards for our taxis, we have never before worked with the auto industry to design a taxicab especially for New York City “” that is, until now,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
All three finalist designs are closer in design to minivans than standard sedans, and that seems to be what the city wants. The city asked companies to particularly consider interior roominess, driver comfort, environmental impact, maintenance and repair costs, and exterior design when designing their submissions.
The winning design will be announced early next year with the new vehicle hitting the road in the fall of 2014. The winning manufacturer will hold an exclusive right to manufacture the standard NYC Taxi Cab for ten years.
Let us know what you think: Do you think it”s only right that NYC chooses the only American manufacturer still in contention, or should the decision be based solely on vehicle design?
2011 Ford Transit Connect Taxi:
– By: Stephen Calogera