Some New Yorkers really want that Nissan cab

Despite a judge voiding Nissan's lucrative 10-year, billion-dollar Taxi of Tomorrow contract with the city in October, the company has gone ahead with sales here.

NEW YORK -- First a New York judge blocked a deal to make the Nissan NV200 the city’s official taxi last year. Now the cops want to write one of the van’s drivers a ticket.

A stiff-upper-lipped Nissan is rolling out a couple of mock NV200 yellow New York taxis this week to carry visitors and VIPs around the city during the New York auto show.

But the pretend taxis may look a little too much like the real deal. And in the sometimes rain, snow and cold of the auto show this week, New Yorkers keep hailing the private show car drivers as the vans roll down Manhattan’s streets.

“Sorry, this isn’t a real taxi,” drivers keep telling eager pedestrians. “I can’t pick you up.”

Then one of New York’s finest attempted to weigh in after one driver refused to wait in the taxi queues at the airport. “I’m not a real taxi,” the driver protested as a policewoman started to write him a ticket for breaking taxi rules.

Despite a judge voiding Nissan’s lucrative 10-year, billion-dollar Taxi of Tomorrow contract with the city in October, the company has gone ahead with sales here.

Nissan officials believe cabbies will still want the NV200 -- designed specifically to meet the city’s contract requirements. Judging from the irritated expressions of New Yorkers who couldn’t catch the show cars, a fair number of consumers would also like to ride in them.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at lchappell@crain.com

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