New York taxi boss shops for new cabs - Crown Vic's dominance in Big Apple may end

Page 1 of 4  
New York taxi boss shops for new cabs
Crown Vic's dominance in Big Apple may end
Ryan Beene Automotive News January 18, 2008 - 4:23 pm ET
DETROIT -- The Ford Crown Victoria sedan, which has been the workhorse
of New York's taxicab fleet, could be history.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is shopping for a new generation of cars to be phased in to its fleet of about 13,000 yellow cabs. Officials from New York's taxi commission were at the auto show this week to discuss their Taxi of Tomorrow project with major automakers.
" We met with all of the major automobile manufacturers," commission Chairman Matthew Daus told Automotive News. " We're taking this as an opportunity to ask manufacturers to custom-build the utopian cab for us."
Daus said such a cab would be reasonably priced, fuel efficient, accessible for passengers with disabilities and distinctively styled.
To help draft specifications for the cab project, the commission has contracted with the suburban Detroit operations of the U.K. automotive engineering and technology firm Ricardo PLC as a consultant. Specifications will be sent to every major automaker in about a month, Daus said. He declined to name specific companies.
Taxi program
The Crown Victoria has been the dominant cab in the New York fleet for years. While about 18 percent of the city-administered fleet is supplied by other automakers, Ford has a taxi program that alters Crown Victorias on request.
" The difference between the Ford Crown Victoria and every other vehicle that's out there is that Ford is the only one that came up with a taxi package program, a commercial-vehicle initiative where they actually tailor the vehicle over the years to make it a better taxi," Daus said. " The other manufacturers have not authorized specifically a program to use these vehicles as taxis."
In 2001, Ford lengthened Crown Victorias destined to be in the cab fleet by about 6 inches, upon request by the city of New York, Daus said.
But rising fuel costs, environmental awareness, recently increased fuel economy standards for New York cabs and the inevitable demise of the Crown Victoria are pushing the issue.
" The Crown Victoria is basically coming to an end," Daus said. " We're looking to make our environment cleaner and be more fuel efficient and save more money for drivers and the owners, so you could basically say that the Crown Victoria is going to be phased out."
That could upset a lot of New York cab riders. A survey by CNW Marketing Research, of Bandon, Ore., found that 95 percent of respondents preferred the Crown Victoria over other New York cabs, such as the dozen Toyota Prius sedans the city has in its fleet.
" The Crown Vic has been a spectacular fleet car," CNW analyst Art Spinella said in a phone interview with Automotive News. " It's perfect for what it does."
Spinella said Ford would benefit if it continued to dominate the New York fleet, but that doesn't mean it will happen.
Phone messages to Ford Motor were not returned today." If Ford were to stay doing nothing but Crown Vics for taxis and upgrading them to some degree, maybe fitting a more fuel-efficient V-6 instead of a V-8 in it or hybridizing it, they could probably hold on to 70 to 75 percent of that market," Spinella said. " But I'm not sure that they want to spend the money to do it."
Big Apple is biggest
New York is the largest purchaser of cabs, according to the Taxicab, Limousine &Paratransit Association, of Kensington, Md. Second is Chicago, where the dominant cab also is the Crown Victoria. New York has been testing other vehicles as it retires and replaces cabs every three to five years. The city's fleet includes hybrids, vans and SUVs from a number of automakers, but Daus said there isn't a vehicle now on the market that can solve the city's needs.
Hybrids could be a viable fleet solution for New York, Spinella said, citing two nameplates: the Ford Escape Hybrid. and the Prius.
The Escape Hybrid " may be Ford's ace in the hole," Spinella said, adding that if Ford could strip it down, the car could be sold at a cheaper price.
While the Prius gets poor marks for lack of cargo space, Spinella said building something larger on the Prius frame could make it a viable cab.
Said Spinella: " It might be in Toyota's best interest to turn the Prius into a London-taxi-type of vehicle. The Prius is sturdy enough to be transformed into that type of vehicle."
By taking a chance on a relatively low-volume fleet, the rewards could be bigger than the initial risk, he said, adding: " If New York does it, you know Chicago and some other major Eastern cities are going to do the same thing."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:10:01 -0500, "C. E. White"

It's already history. Toyota is swamping NYC's cab industry with the enormously successful minivan version. Also, police agencies are abandoning the tired, obsolete Crown Vickie for the Dodge Charger in droves.
The Crown Vickie has been a fairly obsolete vehicle or years now, and didn't improve any after its last competition left the marketplace, the Chrysler M-body in 1989 and the old Chevy Caprice left a few years later. Small interior space with large exterior bulk is one problem, horrid fuel economy is another. At last tally I saw, there are fewer than 100 Crown Vickies on Ford dealers' lots right now nationwide, and ZERO Marquises.
It's over, and high time it was.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I am not sure what you mean by "swamping." From http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/imagining-super-taxis-of-the-future / :
"Among the 13,000 taxi medallions out there, there are 11,324 Crown Victoria Sedans, 1,318 Toyta Sienna minivans, 216 Ford Escape sport-utility vehicles, 61 Toyota Highlander S.U.V.'s, 52 Chevy Uplander S.U.V.'s, 6 Toyota Prius sedans, 5 Honda Odyssey minivans, 4 Toyota Campry sedans, 2 Dodge Grand Caravan S.U.V.'s"
I am not sure 1,318 Siennas are "swamping" 11,324 Crown Vistorias.

Ford actually builds a long wheel base Crown Victoria for the cab industry. It has even more rear seat room than the very roomy standard Crown Victoria.

Actually Crown Victorias get relativelty good fuel economy, the same as the V-8 Chargers, and they have much more interior room. A 2008 CV is EPA rated 15 city, 23 highway, 18 combined. A 2008 Sienna mini-van is rated 17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined. A V-8 Charger (not the high performance V-8) is rated 15 city, 23 highway, 18 combined (same as the CV, despite being smaller and lighter).

Ford has decided to concentrate on fleet sales for the Crown Victoria, but the Grand Marquis is still being marketed to the general public - I just saw an ad for them last Friday. The Mercury dealer closest to my house (Capital Lincoln-Mercury, Cary, NC) had over twenty 2008 Grand Marquis in stock. The local Ford dealer has a few 2007 Crown Victorias in stock, but no 2008s and Ford doesn't even list the CV on the Ford website (the Grand Marquis is prominently listed on the Mercury web site).
Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The operative word is "Medallion" cabs. As any Newyorker knows the streets are filled with Gipsy and Livery cabs, not medallion cabs ;)
wrote:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/imagining-super-taxis-of-the-future / :
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike hunt wrote:

I just in NYC with my mentee in midtown. I saw plenty of medallion cabs. In Harlem, most of the cab service is done by limos. The limos I have seen almost always have a TL&C license plate on them.
Limos and livery vehicles (limos) are regulated by the city.
Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You don't know what you are talking about. The CV/Interceptor of today is a totaly differant car from 1999. New body, new chassis, new engine, new tranny, new electronics, get real
.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Who said anything about 1999? The CV/Marquis is still an old, inefficient platform. Ever see a cop trying to shoehorn a perp into the back seat of one of those things? They're a joke.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ford actually builds a long wheel base Crown Victoria with a larger back seat. However, it is not intended for use as a pursuit vehicle. I've been in the back of a CV police car (not as a criminal) and it is not too bad. The one I was in would have been a lot better if it didn't have the divider installed behind the back seat. The divider really cut down on the rear seat leg room. BUT, if you think a Crown Vic is bad, take a look at the back seat of a Charger.
Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You just proved what I said, you don't know what you are talking about. The Interecpter has the largest rear seat and trunk of all of the current certified police vehicles sold in the US. Now go back in you hole LOL

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:10:01 -0500, "C. E. White"

The Crown Vic and it's sister, the Mercury Grand Marquis are the last examples of the Detroit Iron of old. They are full-size, rear wheel drive V8's and make great cabs, police cars or fleet vehicles but they are dated and their production is coming to an end. A suitable replacement is needed and not just by taxi fleets.
Nobody in his/her right mind would get into a high-speed pursuit with today's front-wheel drive 4 bangers, their handling is just too unpredictable. They go from understeer to oversteer with little or no warning. I don't know what will replace the Crown Vic in taxi fleets but I can almost guarantee that state police fleets will stay with some brand/type of rear wheel drive vehicle.
Jack
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
More likely AWD. The Pennsylvania State Police banned FWD cars as persuit vehicle many years ago, for the reasons you cite. Several toopers were injured and killed doing so in the FWD cars supplied by the feds under the "55 Alive" program. The few FWD cars they do buy are used for administrative work or by detictves
.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 21 Jan 2008 15:53:51 GMT, Retired VIP

There's no problem in using FWD in a pursuit - just keep the front wheels aimed where you want to go and stand on the gas, the rear end will follow in due time... (See "Drifting".) The problem is that all the cops that are used to driving the big old front engine RWD barges will all have to re-learn how to drive practically from scratch, and the thought scares them.
Building a larger Prius or Escape hybrid specifically modified for the needs of cops and taxis would be useful. For starters, when the engine is driving that huge traction alternator, no more worries about not having enough 12V for the light bar and the radios. Just leave the engine in "Standby" mode, and it will start itself up and recharge the accessory battery as needed.
And it would be nice to have the auxiliary power, space for mounting a computer terminal, 2-way radios and a shotgun rack (that the airbags already have been tested to clear) all engineered in by the car-maker. Most cop cars and taxis require many hours of semi-custom hand modifications before they can be put into service, pre-planning can cut that cost significantly.
They would need to boost the engine horsepower output, perhaps with a turbocharger, a simple enough trick if the computer runs the wastegate. Seriously stiffen up the suspension. And reprogram the hybrid computer to allow for more aggressive driving and higher top speeds - if you floorboard it and dump full engine power and full battery power to the drive wheels at the same time, you want to be able to boil the tires just like those good old big-blocks did...
Oh, and a circuit to desensitize the airbags in a pursuit - too many crooks have learned the trick of "Pop A Cop". If there's only one cruiser behind you, just slam on the brakes and get him to rear-end you, and "Bang!" he's out of the chase.
--<< Bruce >>--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Reprogram the hybrid computer to allow for more aggressive driving and higher top speeds?" You aparently have not drive in NYC lately LOL
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Lately? How about EVER? :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I drove in New York City once by accident, once was enough! <G>
Jeff DeWitt
Mike hunt wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I drove a 40' highway coach (an MC-7) around Manhattan and Brooklyn for a month. I've got street cred over ALL of ya. Never had an accident, either, although I was a moving target for all the cabbies.
NYC in the '70s was sort of like watching a preview trailer for "Fort Apache: The Bronx." Whatta DUMP!
I even screwed up just getting to the tunnel upon arrival by winding up on the Skyway in NJ. That was a fat ticket.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Exactly. You'll also remember that for years, NYPD's Plymouth fleets came equipped with 225 slant 6s and 904 Torqueflites. Why have a V8, when the best speed you could do on 5th Ave. was around 25 MPH? MAYBE 45 on the FDR...MAYBE.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DeserTBoB wrote:

Don't forget, NYC includes the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. There are highways there. And you reach pretty high speeds when it's not rush hour.
Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Can we assume you have not been on the Crosstown, LIE of Van Wick lately, if that is what you believe ;)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike hunt wrote:

The highway is open nearly 24 hrs a day, seven days a week. The highway is quite open in the middle of night. During the day, not as much.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.