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Ford, Nissan, Karsan Finalists in NYC "Taxi of Tomorrow" Wait...Karsan?

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New York City officials revealed three finalists in a competition to become the exclusive taxicab of the Big Apple.

The Nissan NV200:

The Ford Transit Connect:

And the KarsanVI:

All three manufacturers have one month to submit final proposals, after which a winner will be announced. New cabs are expected to start appearing on city streets in 2013.

Now, I know what you're thinking--or, at least I am:

What's a Karsan and how did they get here?

For starters, Karsan is, quite simply, an automaker. In Turkey. And that's why you've never heard of them until now. Unless you're Turkish.

As for how they ended up as the potential exclusive taxi supplier to NYC, in July, Karsan's chairman, Ä°nan Kıraç, spoke to Hurriyet, Turkey's primary English-language newspaper, after the company submitted its tender.

First and foremost, the "Taxi of Tomorrow" would give Karsan visibility on a world stage.

“Either in New York or not, you will see the car. It will be the ‘automobile of the world’ very soon. It will be widely driven in Turkey as well. The car will be a cornerstone of a new Turkish brand,” Kıraç said.

Jan Nahum, executive director of Karsan, said, "This is not just participating in a tender. It means more, as it is the spark of a long journey to create a natural brand for Turkey. We have a vision for the year 2023 – the 100th anniversary of the Republic - to reach a better place in the world market."

The executives at Karsan were not counting their chickens, however.

“We certainly would like to become the preferred bidder, but we are competing with the world’s big companies at an international level,” Nahum said.

Though, now it looks as if, through some strange twist of fate, Karsan has shown it has the chops to take on the heavyweights.

And New York City, the so-called Melting Pot of the World, may be adding a new nationality to its fleet of 13,237 cabs.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.