Friday, 6 April 2012

In a yellow taxi Nissan sees gold

NEW YORK -- Nissan will do well to sell 4,000 of them a year. But the automaker is giving its new van-shaped taxi cab all the auto show fanfare of one of its biggest products.
Models last night handed out prepaid credit cards to New Yorkers worth a free cab ride in the city as a way of advertising Nissan's entry into the taxi business.
The canary yellow cab -- a converted Nissan NV200 commercial van -- is being hawked in billboards around the New York auto show, and the only existing model of the van sits prominently on Nissan's display at the show, even though it will not appear on the streets until October 2013.
Why all the hoopla?
Three reasons, according to Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn:
First, New York is only the beginning.
"Eventually, we'll see it in other markets in the world," he says. The company has received queries on the cab from cities in China, India and Britain.
Second, the so-called "Taxi of Tomorrow" will serve as a rolling advertisement for the Nissan brand for millions of New Yorkers and tourists, Ghosn says, showing off Nissan as a technology innovator.
"Six hundred thousand people a day will experience it," Ghosn says.
Among the cab's innovations: interiors made of anti-bacterial materials that neutralize odors and germs; large roof skylights to let visitors gaze at the city skyline while in traffic; rear-seat reading lights; plug-in jacks to recharge cell phones; separate passenger air conditioner controls; a driver-to-passenger intercom system; and an embedded radio-transmission feature that helps hearing-impaired passengers hear the driver.
The taxi also will come as a battery-powered electric vehicle, giving Nissan still more exposure as a maker of electric cars.
"In my opinion, the EV will be the dominant version of the taxi," Ghosn conjectured. "It's quieter, and that will be attractive."Automobile News

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