NASHVILLE -- Nissan could have to give up part of its exclusive deal to supply the only taxicab in New York City for the next decade because of a state Supreme Court ruling there.
The problem, according to the recent court decision, is that New York's taxi commission was supposed to contract for a vehicle that is available as a hybrid. And the Nissan NV200 compact van that the city selected and is due to launch in October is not a hybrid.
Nissan has assured the city that a hybrid version of the NV200 taxi will be produced starting in 2015. But that did not satisfy New York State Supreme Court Justice Peter Moulton, who ruled the Nissan arrangement "null, void and unenforceable."
That does not mean that Nissan's Taxi of Tomorrow contract is nullified, said Nissan Americas spokesman David Reuter. It means that New York cab companies and drivers will have to be provided with a plan to opt for a hybrid vehicle in the meantime.
The full contract was likely to result in only 13,000 to 25,000 sales of the NV200 taxi over the next 10 years. But the deal is worth an estimated $1 billion, and the automaker is counting on it to showcase the Nissan brand to New Yorkers and tourists.
The New York Taxi & Limousine Commission is scheduled to meet on June 20 to approve rules that would guide cab companies on buying hybrid models.