Having already been named the official Taxi of Tomorrow for New York City, set to replace the traditional yellow Crown Vics that dominate Manhattan beginning in 2013, Nissan's NV200 has set its sights even higher.
Next target: the iconic London 'Black Cab' and its 300,000 daily users.
Nissan has unveiled a special London Taxi version of its van-based NV200 cab that promises significantly reduced CO2 outputs compared to current taxi models. An all-electric e-NV200 concept is also set to undergo trials in London, as it is in New York.
London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is known for his keen focus on improving the city's air quality, has joined disability groups and the influential London Taxi Drivers’ Association in welcoming the launch of the new Nissan cab.
"Improving air quality in London is one of the most important challenges I face as Mayor," Johnson said. "Having taken the significant step of introducing the first age limit for taxis in London, I am absolutely delighted that manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and are responding to the challenge I set."
Mercedes-Benz is also keen on the taxi market in the U.K., having released a taxi variant of its Vito van specificaly for that purpose.
While Nissan's New York and London cabs are derived from the same basic vehicle – which made its taxi debut in Tokyo – they differ substantially in detail.
The Nissan NV200 London Taxi is said to comfortably seat five adults – three on a rear bench with two on rear-facing, fold-down seats. The front passenger seat has been removed to create space for luggage.
A major feature is the taxi’s sliding passenger doors, which were developed for easy open and close. They are also much safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles because they do not swing out to create a potential obstruction.
The diesel version of the Nissan NV200 London Taxi is expected to be competitively priced below the new TX4 – the London Taxi Company’s current model - and will be available through a designated ‘specialist’ Nissan dealer.
It is also expected to reduce cabbies' running costs, with its 1.5-litre diesel/six-speed manual transmission drivetrain promising an almost 50% fuel saving over the most efficient TX4.
While this will be Nissan's first foray into the London cab market as a compete vehicle, the company does have some history as an engine provider – its 2.7-litre TD27 diesel engine was the engine of choice for the iconic LTI FX4 ‘Fairway’ black cab and successor, the TX1.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, called it: "one of the greatest engines ever put in a cab." He predicts that, "If the fuel consumption figures are as promised, it will be a big seller."