Monday, April 25, 2011

A Tipping Point in the Taxi of Tomorrow Design Competition?

Does the fact that Turkish automaker Karsan plan on building their Taxi of Tomorrow for the New York City taxi fleet in Brooklyn mean that the company should get an edge in the competition.

I think it most certainly does. The company plans on building the taxis in Brooklyn's Marine Terminal.
Automaker Karsan, hoping for an edge in the three-way race to design New York City's newfangled cabs, has told city officials it would put its auto plant in the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.

Karsan bigwigs claim the Sunset Park assembly line would immediately create several hundred jobs and later "as many as 800."

"Karsan is unconditionally committed to producing the 'Taxi of Tomorrow' at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal," Karsan USA President Bill Wachtel pledged last month in a letter to David Yassky, chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Wachtel also sent a copy of the letter to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Ford and Nissan also are competing to design the city's exclusive yellow cab model for the next decade, but it wasn't immediately clear whether either had made a similar build-it-here pledge.

The city launched the "Taxi of Tomorrow" project four years ago, with a goal of selecting one iconic design that's fuel-efficient and comfortable. The cab will replace the 16 models now authorized, including the Crown Victoria. The Crown Vic is the most dominant model on the road, but Ford is halting its production.
None of the three designs would have been initially built in the United States, let alone in New York. Now, Karsan has proposed building the taxis in New York City, and that could be a major factor in deciding to give the deal to Karsan. It would also mean that the manufacturer could tweak the design as it gets feedback from the Taxi and Limousine Commission and drivers who use the vehicle on a daily basis and incorporate the changes. It would also bring back a manufacturing operation to the City that has been shedding manufacturing jobs for decades.

It would likely take several years to transform the Marine Terminal into a manufacturing plant for vehicle production.

No comments: