Nissan rolled out the taxi version of the NV200 last October two years after being selected by the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) of New York City as the city's exclusive taxi, following a competitive two-year selection process.
Nissan estimates there are about 500 of them in operation in the Big Apple. Nissan is distributing the NV200 through at least eight Nissan dealerships in the New York City region.
The auto maker assembles the NV200 in Cuernavaca, Mexico. JK supplies a version of its Vectra premium tire in size 185/65R15.
JK Tornel also supplies JK- and Tornel-brand tires OE to Chrysler Group L.L.C. in Mexico and Fiat S.p.A. in Brazil, according to Vijay Misra, JK's technical director, and has an OE homologation under way with Volkswagen Mexico.
JK distributes JK-brand truck, farm and industrial tires in the U.S. already through a network of distributors, Mr. Misra said.
The company also launched an effort three years ago to sell the Tornel brand in the U.S., but distribution agreements with a handful of U.S. wholesalers ended without much progress being made.
Going forward, JK plans to promote the Tornel brand in Mexico and throughout Latin America.
In preparation of the launch, JK Tornel has been upgrading its product line to include SKUs in all-season and SUV categories. Sizes will be in the 13- to 18-inch rim diameters at first, Mr. Misra said.
Radial truck tires will be part of the mix as well, he added, but not for several more years as the company ramps up production at an expansion under way at JK's plant in Chennai, India.
That project, valued at $230 million over three years, will add 800,000 units of radial truck/bus tire capacity a year by year-end 2015, Mr. Misra said.
The company also is scouting locations in Mexico, he added, for a site for a radial truck tire plant, but that's still at least a couple of years away.
JK earlier had projected it would start selling radial truck tires in the U.S. by 2013, but that schedule — disclosed at the 2011 SEMA Show — has proved overly ambitious.
To support the firm's growth plans for the Americas, JK established a satellite research and development center at Tornel's plant complex in Mexico City last year.
With fiscal 2013 sales of $1.5 billion, JK is considered the 20th largest tire maker worldwide. Sales by JK Tornel represented about $250 million of that, according to JK financial figures.
JK's sales through the first six months of fiscal 2014 were about 6 percent ahead of 2013.
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