By on March 22, 2010

As the avid reader of our cop car chronology and our on-going coverage of crime-buster conveyances knows, that market of 75,000 units a year in the U.S.A. alone is in a bit of a turmoil. The Crown Vic, holder of approximately 70 percent of the fuzz market, is about to be retired. Ford, GM, and Chrysler want to get a bite out of that crime-driven market. Not to forget a little known company, curiously and politically incorrectly named “Carbon Motors.”  Since our own Sajeev Mehta directed our attention towards Carbon, it got a little quiet around the formerly Atlanta, now Connersville, Ind. based upstart that wants to build dedicated police-mobiles. Until today.

Today, Germany’s Automobilwoche [sub] reports that Carbon Motors “ordered more than 240,000 diesel engines for their new super police car E7.” And where did they order the engines? From Germany’s BMW. The Bavarians can’t believe their luck. “Never before has BMW sold so many powertrains to a third party,” says Automobilwoche. The Bavarians will sell more than the engine. The whole shebang comes with the cooling, exhaust, and slushbox system. The powertrains will be built in BMW’s engine plant in Steyr, Austria. First deliveries will be made in 2012. Speaking of carbon, the BMW engine promises a 40 percent better mileage than other, unnamed contenders.

But an order for 240,000 engines? So far, the Carbon company, founded by former Dallas police officer Stacy Dean Stephens and former Ford executive William Santana Li, has collected 12,500 reservations, says USA Today. Maybe Carbon, which now calls itself a “Homeland Security Company” has just landed a big carbonated order. Or they are making it up.

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37 Comments on “License And Registration, Please: Will You Be Pulled Over By A BMW?...”


  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    “Ihre Papers bitte” (or didn’t the Stazi say “bitte”?)

    So the Neu Amerikaner Stazi will haf ze BMW powered awtows, ja?

    FEMA kamps must have ze corrrrect vehicles to guard ze gates, ja?

    BMW has to have money on the table. This means a US Government order.

    The federalization of the police forces has started over two decades ago and keeps running apace.

    Sorry about your rights, fellow American citizens… but as things continue along in this vein, you’ll find that you haven’t any.

    As the saying goes, the handwriting has been on the wall for a long time. Most people, however, are blinkered like old decrepid and long “broken” (soulless) draft horses.

    • 0 avatar

      Herr Zimmermann,

      Entschuldigung, but you haff your klischees konfused. The Stasi didn’t ride around in BMWs, those were reserved to leather-jacketed and jovial cops in Munich.

      The Stasi tooled around the Deutsche Demokratische Republik in Trabants and Wartburgs as they tried to blend in with the population. Only on high profile missions, they used a Sachsenring, powered by a pre-war Horch engine.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      My god, can we not discuss cars for even a minute before someone spews another half baked political rant?

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    And don’t worry about the cost of these things. It’s only taxpayer dollars.

  • avatar
    AutoFan

    At least you didn’t bring up Hilter’s name to make this a perfect Godwin’s Law argument.
    Probably one of the most non-sensical things I’ve read on here in a very long time. You might want to make sure your foil hat is fitting correctly.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Carpenter

      I have to say that Godwin’s law apparently was invented by fascists and communists as an immediate device to deflect real world arguments and comparisons to the current regimes of tyranny.

      So, mr autofan, please take your little beanie hat off and go look up the definition of tyanny while I go shine my “tinfoil” lid.

      In fact, the only real difference between a communist and a fascist is in the imagination of those who want to make such a distinction.

      The 55 million dead from Stalin and the 11 million dead from Hitler could see no distinction at all just before they were murdered. Not to mention the people who had the misfortune to live and die under Pol Pot, Mao, the “leaders” of nations such as N. Korea, N. Vietnam, much of Africa, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

      Lately in the world, it seems that people who speak truth-as-they- see-it-and-which-disagrees-with-the-majority are regularly laughed at and mocked. And no, when we’re proven right (later), we won’t probably be saying told you so. You’ll be saying “should have listened…”

      For example, this 4 minute tape done fully 13 months ago, of a man who had run for President of the United States and was entirely ignored by the powers that be and media. Listen in:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DlTgrMCxPg

      Now stop and think about how much of what he said in 4 minutes has started to come to pass already.

      Except now we’re dreaming up a couple of cool Trillion dollars out of our electronic printing presses PER YEAR for the foreseeable future.

      Yeah, I actually do think the powers that be are pretty sure we’re going to have an armed insurrection against them and how they’re going to try to control and corral the subjects under them (we are apparently no longer real American citizens by any rational definition).

      Hence I can certainly see why there would be an order for a lot of these “specialty vehicles” and why of course, such a thing would “be off the books.”

      Bertel, yes of course, I am actually aware of what the Stazi actually drove. It was a bad attempt at black humor pertaining to the fact that the two Germanies are now unified, I guess. I think the real Stazi also used imported black Volga cars for their midnight runs to expropriate people from their beds/homes at gunpoint. I have a friend who was born in East Germany and whose family escaped. Her aunt and uncle, both Christians, were murdered in their beds by a “committed communist” who said he would be doing the deed – and the local Polizi and Stazi refused to do anything to protect them.

    • 0 avatar

      BTW Herr Hitler was Austrian not German. Wait engines also are made in Austria. No way.

  • avatar

    Both Carbon and Local Motors are hooked on these BMW diesels. Which is fine for Local, but is Carbon really gonna be price competitive? I’ve yet to see pricing, but the concept car looks full of unique and expensive parts. This motor is more of the same.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      +1, Sajeev

      This is just a gesture by a desperate venture capital entity, trying to keep themselves in the news.

      Anyone who can afford a deposit can place an order…following through with it is another matter entirely.

      If any of these actually see pavement, I expect their popularity will end the minute one breaks down. At that point, a sheriff or police chief will have to explain why he’s waiting for an expensive and hard-to-find part that’s available from a handful of dealerships. That’s in addition to answering as to why he didn’t buy from Billy Bob Ford-Chevrolet-Dodge, located just across the street from the precinct.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Hope BMW can spell “irrevocable letter of credit.”

  • avatar
    mdensch

    I suspect that Carbon will have a tough time selling these to local PDs. Most local purchasing rules require that the contract goes to the lowest bidder. Police chiefs can take total vehicle costs into account, including fuel costs, but without retail sales to amortize costs, Carbon’s product will likely cost considerably more than the Ford, Chevy or Dodge competitors. Furthermore, repair parts will only be available through Carbon which means replacement parts are likely to cost much more, also. Also, Ford, Chevy, and Dodge have the advantage of having dealers in nearly every town in America. Where does the local PD send a Carbon cop car to get fixed? (And keep in mind, cop cars get pretty beat up.)

    And 240,000 engines? That’s more than three years worth of the total production of the market for police cars. I gotta think that’s a 10 year (or more) contract — and even that would be a lot.

    On a side note: Chevy may run into a snag with the Australian sourced Caprice since many local purchasing rules have a made-in-America (or at least North America) clause.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    I’ve seen an extimate of 40-100k per vehicle. Your local municipality will be raising your property taxes for these turkeys.

  • avatar
    Bergwerk

    When I read (in press releases last year) that the E7 would have a 300 hp turbo diesel engine, I immediately thought BMW.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    When Mullaly made the decision to fore-go that 40,000 yearly Crown Vic cop volume, you had to take it as proof that a dedicated cop platform is uneconomical, at least right now, because Mullaly and Kuzak would have done so cheaper and better than anybody, if it was profitable.

    That means only Government Motors, through any of its various subsidiaries, can bring this on, by footing the bill for all development and investment cost.

    And left to their own devices and voters, there’s no way state and local governments will pay for one-off equipment, with both greater first cost and greater operating cost. No chance of this happening, none, unless Government Motors assigns their Treasury Department subsidiary to subsidize that cost.

    EDIT: I like the suicide door thing though, a nice touch, and it’ll catch the eye of any rube buyers out there.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Given the similiarity of Carbon Motor’s logo, I would have imagined their engine supplier would be Renault.

    One thought though, if Carbon Motor’s is aiming to take piece of the pie from Ford, GM and Chrysler, does that not necessarily rule them and their subsidiaries out as engine suppliers? Who else is left in the US that builds diesels that would work in a vehicle like this? Cummins? Caterpillar? Techumseh? Briggs and Stratton? John Deere?

  • avatar
    tauronmaikar

    I wonder if the redneck cops will feel humiliated that their engine is a BMW masterpiece and not a GM dog?

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      I doubt an LS-series, HEMI, Modular, 3.8/3.9 V6 and now 3.5 V6 and Ecoboost engines are garbage.

      I also doubt that having pushrods is also something to be ashamed.

      I’m sure the “masterpiece” will cost a lot more to run. Include in the costs: parts availability (as mentioned above), mechanic training, driver training, special tools, no parts exchange with existing cars and so on.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    The powertrains will be built in BMW’s engine plant in Steyr, Austria.

    Wouldn’t that be Magna’s engine plant?

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I checked the site last year and the spec sheet on the engine/trans seemed a lot BMW-like or at least euro-like. So I’m not much surprised.

    Also, who in the US manufactures a diesel engine with the specs posted in their site? A 250HP diesel is most likely a 6 cyl turbodiesel one, and one that might be in a 5/E/A6 type of car.

    Even the suspension setup is very 5 series like. Who knows if also the platform comes from a 5-series BMW. Maybe not the current gen, but some of the previous ones.

    The amount?… well that surely shocks. Are they going to manufacture unmarked cars or cars for government agencies?

    The bad part is that at the end of their life, the cars are not going to the taxi market, but “recycled”. A taxi with suicide door might be terrific for passenger access.

  • avatar

    I sense a law….”notwithstanding any other provision of law, all vehicles bid upon will be, where practical, US based, including drivetrains, etc…

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    A search of contracts awarded on the DoD web site shows no contracts awarded to Carbon Motors.

    As an employee of a defense contractor, I can assure you that even Carbon Motors will not know for sure if they won any DoD contract until it’s posted publicly on the DoD web site.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    50K for a rigged cop car? Good luck with that. I was wondering how washed up Ford marketing execs are spending their time these days.

  • avatar
    stuki

    With $100,000+ salaries and pensions putting doctors to shame, why should the police unions’ settle for anything less than Bimmers for their members’ daily donut runs?

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      Because higher taxes are not an option in local elections these days.

      Those same unionized cops will not be willing to trade a job for every 2 snazzy overpriced cop cars.

      I am involved in local government in an affluent community, and we would never pay more than 25-27K for a fully rigged interceptor. Thats why the Carbon idea is a loser idea seeking a government handout. Our community will probably switch to Chargers from Crown Vics if the Taurus based car is unacceptable and/or expensive. The Caprice will get a look, but I cannot imagine that the Austrailian design would be price competitive, unless GM takes a loss on each one. That said, Aztek Mark Reuss has never been afraid to take a loss on a car that he has been involved in. (Aztek, GTO, G8…. The list goes on)

  • avatar
    jimbowski

    AFAIK, Carbon doesn’t even have the keys yet to the building in Indiana.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I think some places already have BMW Motorcycles, so it’s already possible to be pulled over by a BMW.

  • avatar
    Joel

    So, just to clarify, this is a BMW drivetrain(basically) coupled with…what kind of car for a chassis? Are they going to use an American car company chassis to get the “made in the USA” sticker? Plus, now that diesel costs as much as premium unleaded gas, wouldn’t that negate part of the cost savings for going with diesel? Don’t get me wrong; I’m a fan of the oil burners, but this seems like a pretty far fetched plan.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      They’re saying the car is purpose built. What that actually means is not quite so clearly defined. It appears the car itself is built from the ground up at their plant. But that’s just what I’m getting from their site. The diesel gives improved fuel mileage and the 250,000 mile service life that they’re aiming at.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      Our local PD auctions off 2-3 year old Crown Vics at approximately 150K miles. Taxi companies snap them up for between $2K and $3K. We purchase them new for about $15K-$16K unrigged. Rigging costs us about 5K (We have a local company that gives us a deal). So… With regular fuel about $.50 more expensive than diesel, where is the value proposition for a $50K-$60K diesel interceptor?

      More importantly… Who wants to bet me that Carbon will succeed?

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Good luck getting one of these HPCR diesels to last 250K miles with the quality of fuel available here in the U.S.

      If this BMW engine is anything like the modern MB diesels, they are needlessly complex and basically disposable when they fail, and they do fail. The piston cooling jets on the current 3.0L V-6 diesel are “computer aimed” and if you bump one out of position, there is no re-aiming…you throw away the short block. Great idea!

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    My PD is going for Trail Blazers. I would expect that vans or SUVs will replace the sedans. Trucks are cheap and parts are readily available.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      Command officers drive SUVs in my town. We tried SUVs for general use, but they were/are too thirsty, slow and expensive for patrol work.

      It is going to be interesting to see what happens to the new Taurus interceptor. Pricing and 3 party testing will determine if its a success or a massive fail.

  • avatar

    At SF auto show I saw Maserati as a police car. So things go in right directions. BMW is not so expensive to service in Germany might be cheaper than Japanese car, I mean it is just another German car. It is RWD so costs more than Opel. Maserati is different issue let alone not as durable as BMW.


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