Nissan's Iranian New York City Cab Problem

Illustration for article titled Nissan's Iranian New York City Cab Problem

While Nissan happily trumpets their taxi-selection victory inside the Javits Center, just outside Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate for the City of New York, held a press conference decrying the selection. The reason? Nissan still does business in Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions.

As de Blasio states in a press release:

"You cannot do business with the people of New York City with one hand, and prop up the dangerous regime in Tehran with the other. For our billion dollars, taxpayers and taxi riders deserve a guarantee that Nissan will stop selling its vehicles to Iran."


The Iranian business referred to is primarily the result of license-built Nissans (and Renaults, who owns Nissan) being produced by Iran's state-owned and operated Pars Khordro firm. Many Nissan models have been built by the company in the past, and the Renault Logan is currently built and sold in Iran as the Tondar 90.

The other competitors for the lucrative NYC cab contract, Ford (a modified Transit) and Karsan (with a purpose-designed cab) have both divested their business ties in Iran and provided the requisite proof. Karsan even offered to build their cabs in Brooklyn, which gave us the confusing situation of an American company who builds their cabs in Turkey (Ford), against a Turkish company who would build their cabs in America (Karsan). Representatives call the selection of the Nissan over, say, a Brooklyn-built option "puzzling."

The selection process seems to be solidly concluded, but it looks as though groups like United Against A Nuclear Iran will continue to protest the decision.

Personally, I'd just like to see cars manufactured in Brooklyn. If not cabs, maybe the Turks will consider building an Anadol Böcek factory?

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Max Finkel

Considering Renault-Nissan also is partnering with Better Place, an Israeli company, I'm not sure how this is a problem. However, if a government contract violates terms of the sanctions already in place then NYC is really in a pickle.