The Associated Press

New York City has approved the Ford Taurus sedan and Ford Transit Connect van for use as taxis, allowing the carmaker to keep a foothold in the New York cab market even as it phases out the Crown Victoria sedan.

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission approved the vehicles last week.

It’s a small victory for Ford Motor Co., which was passed over this spring when New York named a minivan from Nissan Motor Co. as its official taxi.

The Nissan NV200 will still be the city’s official taxi starting in 2013. But until then, taxi companies will be allowed to buy the Transit Connect and Taurus as they replace the Ford Crown Victorias in their fleets.

The Crown Victoria, the staple of New York’s 13,200-taxi fleet, is going out of production later this year.

Ford expects most of its orders will be for the Transit Connect, a van that went on sale in the U.S. in 2009. The company has sold around 100 Transit Connect taxis in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Las Vegas, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said Thursday.

But New York’s taxi market is the largest in the country. Operators buy around 3,000 taxis per year, he said.

Once the Transit Connect van gets on the streets of New York, residents and tourists will get familiar with the strengths of the vehicle, Fields told The Associated Press.

Ron Sherman, president of New York’s Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, a trade association that represents cab companies, said the decision allows companies to transition to new vehicles as early as this fall instead of waiting until 2013.