By Brian Wong
Nissan's "Taxi of Tomorrow" has hit a wall after a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission does not have the authority to force taxi operators to purchase a certain vehicle.
The "Taxi of Tomorrow" program was a large part of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to reform the city's taxi industry. After winning a fierce competition, Nissan was named the sole supplier of taxi cabs for the city for the next 10 years, a contract some have estimated to be worth approximately $1 billion. The program was scheduled to start Oct. 28 and required all newly purchased, non-hybrid New York City taxi cabs to be Nissan NV200 vans.
But those plans are now on hold after state Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler ruled in favor of the Greater New York Taxi Association, which filed a lawsuit claiming that the TLC did not have the authority to compel taxi operators to purchase a specific replacement vehicle.
Nissan officials had planned to provide as many as 26,000 NV200s over the lifetime of the deal, and as of now have no plans to stop production of taxi versions of the NV200. According to Autoblog.com, a Nissan spokesperson said the company is disappointed with the court's decision, but it would continue to produce up-fitted taxi cab models of the NV200.