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NYC's "Taxi of Tomorrow" will be a Nissan

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New York City has decided against going with an American car company for its "Taxi of Tomorrow." Instead, it will be a Nissan.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Tuesday that the $1 billion contract will go to Nissan over Ford and the Turkish carmaker Karsan Otomotiv.

"It's going to be the safest, most comfortable, and most convenient cab the City has ever had," Bloomberg said.

"We started this process to leverage our taxi industry's purchasing power to get the highest quality taxi," he added. "The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day."

The new taxi will be based on Nissan's NV200 minivan model.

Nissan officials said on a conference call that they expect to provide up to 26,000 cabs over the course of the ten-year contract, starting in 2013. Each taxi will sell for around $29,000.

"It's very important for Nissan," said Carlos Tavares, Nissan's chairman in the Americas. "We deserve a better presence (in the United States) than we have today despite progress in recent years."

The fleet could eventually become electric. Nissan said it will be able to convert the NV200 to run on electric-only engines beginning in 2017.

The city will test the feasibility of electric cabs by using six all-electric Nissan Leafs, which Nissan is giving to the city for free as part of the deal.

Nissan will build the cabs in Mexico, as opposing to the Turkish company, which vowed to build the taxis in Brooklyn using union labor, and Ford, which of course builds its cars in the U.S.

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