Nissan, burned on taxi deal, teases N.Y. with a prototype

Nissan’s special auto show mock-up looked enough like a real taxi to make New Yorkers fume when it wouldn’t stop for them.
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First New York reneged on its contract to make the Nissan NV200 the city's official taxi last year. Now the cops want to write it a ticket.

Stiff-upper-lipped Nissan rolled 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. The pretend taxis looked a little too much like the real deal. And in the rain, snow and cold of auto show week, New Yorkers kept trying to hail the private show car drivers as they rolled down Manhattan's streets.

"Sorry, this isn't a real taxi," the drivers kept having to tell people through the windows. "I can't pick you up."

Then New York's Finest attempted to weigh in after one driver refused to wait his turn 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.

Even though a court voided its lucrative 10-year, billion-dollar Taxi of Tomorrow contract with the city last October, Nissan has gone ahead with sales here. Nissan officials believe cabbies still will want the Nissan contender, which was 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.

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