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Old 02-17-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default New Yorkers Say Turkish Offering Beats Out Nissan, Ford for Taxi of the Future

For decades, Ford’s aging Crown Victoria has had a virtual lock on the hack business in the Big Apple. Sure, there’ve been the odd Honda Odyssey vans, Toyota Prius hybrids and even a few Ford Escape SUVs, but the Crown Vic has usually been the cab driver’s car of choice.

Not for much longer, however. For one thing, Ford is finally pulling the plug on the aged, rear-drive sedan. But the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong proponent of green technology, is looking for a more eco-friendly replacement, and has encouraged a variety of makers, including some quite non-traditional names, to make a bid.

And now, the results are in from a public poll by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission – and while some familiar names, such as Ford and Nissan, were on the list, the overwhelming favorite was an until-now unknown Turkish maker, Karsan.

Its little V1, a quirky and distinctive cross between a van, bus and SUV, captured a whopping 66% of the vote, overwhelming the new Nissan NV200 commercial van and Ford’s Transit Connect.

The vehicle has a variety of features that seemed to win over the hearts and minds of the Big Apple, including a roomy interior – with 40 inches rear legroom, twice the space of the old Crown Vic — wheelchair accessible doors on both sides, and a huge glass roof that makes it easy for tourists and jaded New Yorkers alike to enjoy the city’s sights.

What may help win over the administration, however, is that the Karsan V1 uses a hybrid powertrain – but can also run on gasoline or diesel, natural gas or even pure electric power. Company officials say the most likely engine would be a 2.4-liter powerplant purchased from an unspecified source in the U.S.

Karsan plans to have at least one running prototype by summer, in time for a final decision by Mayor Bloomberg, who is expected to push the operators of the 13,000-strong New York cab fleet to adopt a new model as they retire their old hacks.

“Having a vehicle designed and built in Turkey being used as a New York taxi would be a very strong branding opportunity for the Turkish automotive industry,” Jan Nahum, executive director of Karsan, and the son of Bernard Nahum, who founded the firm in 1966.

Actually, and quite oddly, Turkey had a two-out-of-three chance of landing the winner in the competition, as the Ford Transit Connect is also imported from that country. It’s a product of a Ford joint venture.

And Karsan has taken a similar approach, partnering with a range of global makers that includes Citroen, Renault, Peugeot and Hyundai.
Paul Eisenstein
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:10 PM   #2
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Uggg. I'd like to see Ford get this opportunity.
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:15 PM   #3
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Way to go Turkey!

Competition is good for the local brands.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BlaineWasHere View Post
Uggg. I'd like to see Ford get this opportunity.
Making high promises with a prototype and actually being able to deliver large orders at the price you quoted are different things.
The Transit Connect is built in Turkey as well.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:38 PM   #5
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This is awesome. I'm Turkish myself and over there the only cars used as taxis are the native Tofas cars. Pretty cool that they are competing to market out here.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:45 PM   #6
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:15 AM   #7
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