Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will loan 10 units of its compact commercial vehicle, the NV200 Vanette Taxi, at no cost to several taxi operators in the Tohoku region of Japan to help improve public access to transportation in the areas affected by the recent major earthquake and natural disasters.
The taxi companies have been designated for this role by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) in association with the "Utilization and demonstration project of new barrier-free vehicles in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake."
The project is part of efforts to develop and promote new types of barrier-free vehicles, including the Universal Design Taxi and will be launched in areas devastated by the recent natural disasters. It is aimed at ensuring access and improving public access to transportation in the affected areas and to confirm the attributes of the new barrier-free vehicles. The NV200 Vanette Taxis will be delivered to the affected areas in the fall of this year.
"We are proud to support the MLIT project by providing Nissan's NV200 Vanette Taxis," said Nissan Corporate Vice President Hideto Murakami, who is responsible for the Global LCV Business Unit. "Our hope is that they will be used to help people in the affected area and, as we go forward, lead to widespread adoption of the Universal Design Taxi nationwide."
Already on sale in Japan from the end of 2010 and having received a warm reception, the NV200 Vanette Taxi is an innovative and functional taxi for everyone, regardless of age, gender and ability, including children, elderly people and wheelchair users. The NV200 is aimed at promoting a barrier-free public transportation infrastructure. With its spacious rear seating and many features that facilitate smooth egress/ingress and comfortable driving over long periods, it was awarded the "Universal Design Award" *1 -- one of the most coveted awards in universal design -- and the "Universal Design Consumer's Favorite Award" in March 2011, marking the first time in the automotive industry that one vehicle was awarded both accolades.
The NV200 Vanette, which is the base model of the NV200 Vanatte Taxi, was chosen in May 2011 as the next-generation taxi for New York city. It is a model designed for customers around the world as Nissan's next-generation compact commercial vehicle, suited for a wide variety of situations including business, daily use, or leisure.
The NV200 Vanette is sold in approximately 40 countries throughout the world, and has received positive feedback from customers for its spacious interior, fuel economy, excellent driving performance, and attractive design. Following its release in Japan and Europe in fiscal 2009, and in China and Singapore in fiscal 2010, it will be introduced in the U.S. and India in the future. At the end of 2009 it was awarded the "International Van of the Year 2010" award after being selected by journalists from 20 European countries.
Nissan plans to launch an electric vehicle based on the NV200 in the future. The Japan Post Service Co., Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, has been carrying out tests on an electric vehicle based on the NV200 since July. One test vehicle has been provided to carry out postal collection and delivery tasks for approximately two months in the city of Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture, to evaluate the vehicle's capabilities under a customer's normal use conditions. Going forward, similar proving tests will be carried out both in Japan and Europe, where comparable evaluations will be implemented in cooperation with local companies.
*1 Universal Design GMbH is an award giving body dedicated to promoting the convergence of design and the emerging importance of customer needs. Representing the design challenges in the coming decades, the awards are intended to serve as an inspiration to designers and manufacturers in using their creativity, competence and experience to flow into products, architecture and services for everyone.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.1 million vehicles in 2010, generating revenue of 8.77 trillion yen ($102.37 billion US). With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award and 2011 World Car of the Year.