"I think this car has a great future ahead of it."
When the “Taxi of Tomorrow” hits the streets of New York next October, it will take the shape of a specially designed commercial vehicle from Nissan. This follows the recent verdict of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission that, as of next autumn, retiring New York City taxicabs will be replaced with the Nissan NV200. Once these iconic yellow vehicles leave the factory in Cuernavaca, Mexico, it will be up to Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics to ensure their safe and timely delivery to New York.
“WWL is our key vehicle logistics provider,” comments Mike Hobson, Director Light Commercial Vehicles & Fleet for Nissan’s US operations. “Every year, in the USA alone, WWL facilitates more than one million vehicle moves on our behalf.”
“Our business is extremely dynamic,” he continues. “So having one partner providing a wide range of services makes our jobs easier. Being able to make changes quickly with a single phone call is a major advantage for us.”
“We’ll be managing the entire journey, from the moment the vehicles leave the factory, until they arrive safely with the end customer,” says WWL’s Senior General Manager for Nissan Support & Logistics, Wesley Hitt.
“Firstly, we’ll carry out the technical services and accessory installation at the factory in Cuernavaca, after which the vehicles will be transported by truck to Toluca, Mexico. They’ll then be secured and loaded onto railcars for transportation to Newark, New Jersey, from where they’ll be unloaded and trucked to New York.”
Hobson explains that winning the New York City “Taxi of Tomorrow” competition has provided a significant brand-building opportunity for Nissan – both in the United States and globally.
“So many iconic movies and TV shows feature the yellow New York taxi as part of the script or simply to establish location,” he says. “The idea of watching movies in the future with panoramic views of Nissan NV200 taxis is very exciting.”
Hobson and Hitt both agree that the NV200 programme has the potential to result in a variety of new opportunities.
“This is a really neat car, with excellent fuel economy,” says Hitt. “It’s a highly specialised commercial vehicle that can be customised for use in a wide variety of different sectors. I think this car has a great future ahead of it.”
Earlier this year, Nissan and WWL launched a commercial vehicle pilot programme, through which WWL will provide accessory installation for a wider range of speciality parts. This means that, in the future, WWL may carry out smaller-scale, customer-specified conversions and modifications for the Nissan Frontier and the Nissan NV cargo van, as well as the NV200.
Furthermore, in the event of the New York taxi companies requesting delivery of wheelchair-accessible cabs, WWL will also be providing inland transportation to and from Indiana, where Nissan’s mobility supplier, the Braun Corporation, has its manufacturing facility.
“This is a high-profile launch, for both WWL and Nissan, and we’ll be getting all hands on deck to make sure it goes flawlessly,” adds Hitt. “We’re introducing a special tracking system for this particular logistics chain to ensure that every one of these vehicles gets delivered on schedule and in perfect shape.”
Established in Yokohama city, Japan in 1933, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. currently manufactures vehicles in 20 countries around the world. Nissan North America Inc., headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, co-ordinates Nissan’s operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including automotive styling, consumer and corporate financing and engineering. Its manufacturing plants in America are located in Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee, Canton, Mississippi, and Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Nissan and WWL
WWL is Nissan North America’s agency of record for all its vehicle logistics needs. The partnership encompasses third-party logistics transportation management and supervision to and from the USA, Mexico and Canada, along with in plant vehicle processing operations at the Nissan sites in Smyrna, Canton and Cuernavaca. WWL also handles the ocean transportation of Nissan products from the USA to Australia, as well as vehicle processing and inland transportation services in India.
: NYC yellow taxis
The iconic yellow taxi has become a worldwide symbol of New York City.
- Each day, 600,000 New Yorkers hop in the back of a cab.
- There are some 13,000 yellow cabs operating across New York City.
- The “Taxi of Tomorrow” competition, launched in 2009, called for a new, purpose-built vehicle that was “safe, fuel efficient, accessible, durable and comfortable”.
- In May 2011, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the Nissan NV200 had been chosen as the “Taxi of Tomorrow”.
- The NV200 is due to be phased in over five years, starting in October 2013.
Features of the Nissan NV200
- Sliding doors, for easier entry and exit
- A glass roof to show off the New-York-city skyline
- A “low-annoyance” horn, which is quieter and has an exterior light to show which drivers over-use it
- Anti-microbial seats and an odour-neutralising headliner
- USB ports for charging gadgets
- Increased luggage space
- A 2.0-litre, inline-four engine, for improved fuel efficiency