* Competing with Ford, Nissan to make NYC's next taxi
* Would reverse trend of exporting manufacturing jobs
By Daniel Trotta
NEW YORK, April 25 Turkish manufacturer Karsan
(KARSN.IS) has promised to assemble cars in Brooklyn if it wins
New York's "Taxi of Tomorrow" concession, potentially returning
auto making to the city for the first time in a century.
Karsan is a finalist along with Nissan (7201.T) and Ford
(F.N) to build a taxi cab that would replace the 16 models now
authorized, a contract estimated to be worth more than $1
billion over 10 years.
The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission will announce the
winner "in the very near future," a spokesman said.
Karsan's bid had gained notice mostly because of its design
for a transparent roof for better sight-seeing and a ramp that
would make it wheelchair accessible off the factory floor. The
Ford and Nissan models are not wheelchair accessible, the
Putting an auto assembly plant in Brooklyn would be a step
toward addressing a lament commonly heard throughout the
recession of 2007-2009: the United States has lost too many
The proposal to build Karsan taxis in Brooklyn was first
reported by the New York Daily News.
"New York City was the manufacturing capital of America in
1960. There hasn't been an industrial project that I can think
of since then," said William Wachtel, president of Karsan USA.
The cars would be made with union labor that would be cost
effective because of efficiencies in the Karsan assembly
process, Wachtel said.
In 1900 there were six factories with 500 employees making
cars in New York City, mostly electric or steam driven,
according to historian Kenneth T. Jackson, editor of "The
Encyclopedia of New York City."
"By 1916, the internal combustion engine had won the
battle, and so far as I know New York manufacture had ended,"
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has become an
enthusiastic advocate for the Karsan bid, though the decision
rests with the commission.
"Here would be something novel: a foreign manufacturer,
Turkish, actually manufacturing right here, putting
Brooklynites and New Yorkers to work," Markowitz said. "That
would say something that the rest of the world might want to
(notice) very carefully."
Wachtel said the plant would be able to build 10,000 units
a year, compared with the 3,000 per year needed for New York
The excess would be sold as taxis in other cities and for
the U.S. retail market, which requires 16,000
wheelchair-accessible cars a year, Wachtel said.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Michelle Nichols)