By on September 20, 2010

A crop of new police cars drew more than 400 law enforcement officials to Chrysler’s proving grounds in Chelsea today to see the Michigan State Police put the cars through acceleration, braking, high-speed handling and other tests.

This article isn’t gonna end well for Ford, and not just because it’s Panther Appreciation Week here at TTAC.

“They will have a tough time,” said Terry Sweezey, public safety officer from Leoni Township. “It is a whole different driving system.”

Understatement of the century, but Ford is all about leveraging what sales laggards they currently have on the books, and cramming it down every channel (SUV, CUV, Sedan, Fleet Sedan, etc) they can find. And who can blame them for wanting to cut off another profitable limb from their tree? Oh wait, I would do just that.

Plus, I wonder if Terry had an invite to the Police Interceptor Love Fest a few months ago. Because nobody mentioned the “whole different driving system” in the PowerPoint presentation.

Ford has long dominated the police car market with about 70% of the 75,000 police cars sold annually. However, the Dearborn automaker will stop producing the Crown Victoria next August and is replacing it with the far more modern Police Interceptor.

Way to cushion the blow, Detroit Free Press. If modern cars like the Taurus were desirable to Police fleets, the original Ford Taurus and the current Chevy Impala would rule the world. And, with FWD passenger cars now (theoretically) fully adopted, municipalities would demand 9,000 rpm V-TEC powered Priuses that run on moustache hair trimmings and donut frosting by now.

Both the Charger and Caprice are rear-wheel drive cars and the Caprice was the market leader before GM discontinued it in 1996. Rear-wheel drive cars are preferred by police departments because they tend to be more durable, are cheaper to repair and make it easier to perform high-speed maneuvers.

Why isn’t this the story’s lede? Oh wait, not pulling punches about wrong-wheel drive Police Interceptors might be keeping it a little too real.

“We drove Caprices for many, many years…so with Chevy coming back in with the rear wheel-drive Caprice, we are definitely very interested,” said Marlyn Dietz, a captain with the Wilmington, Police Department.

Put another way, “we don’t give two shits about a Taurus Cop Car now that we see superior offerings from GM and Chrysler, back to back. And quite franky, RoboCop sucked too.”

The Caprice’s 6.0-liter V8 is rated at an estimated 355 horsepower. Dietz said his department also likes the extra space provided by the Caprice. The Caprice has 122 cubic feet of interior space, which GM says is more than any of its competitors.

Apparently I’ve been living under a rock, but OMG, there’s even a website for the Caprice Cop car! I wonder if Ford’s wicked Police Interceptor badges fit on its trunk. Those badges are cool, and I know Ford dealers sell them for cheap! I can buy, like, a hundred of those badges for the cost of one turbo on a Taurus…

The Caprice has 122 cubic feet of interior space, which GM says is more than any of its competitors. “That’s a big deal. When you have two big guys in a car, with a laptop, and you need to have room for them to move around and function,” Dietz said. Space and comfort are also important because officers spend hours inside their cars every day, he said.

Have we ever figured out why the console is so gigantic on the Taurus, Five Hundred, etc? And, aside from the column shift, why the Interceptor is no better? Oh wait…the Panther chassis sucks because it’s too old school, so never mind.

More to the point, Caprice 9C1 LS-X powertrain FTW!

Tony Gratson, sales manager for Ford’s government fleet vehicles, said the performance through curves and in bad weather of the all-wheel drive version of the Police Interceptor is actually better than rear-wheel drive vehicles. Still, he conceded many officers will need additional training to make the transition.

I would kill for that “transitional” training manual. One: don’t treat our Taurus like your Crown Vic or any RWD Chrysler or GM cop car, because the transaxle might implode. Two: stop bitching about the Taurus’ visibility, we gave up on the Panther ten years ago and it’s too late to turn back. Three: put down that Dodge Charger fleet brochure right now, Mister!

Eugene Mitchell, senior manager of government fleet sales for Chrysler, said the 2011 Dodge Charger Pursuit has 15% more visibility than the outgoing version because of an adjustment to the angle of the windshield. It also has 3.6-liter V6 engine with 285 horsepower that has 30 more horsepower than the outgoing version or a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 360 horsepower.

Mitchell was also quoted as being happy enough to wet his pants when he saw the Taurus Police Interceptor in the flesh. “First we got a few Chargers in fleets nationwide, but now Ford wants us to succeed so badly they’re giving us the whole shebang for nothing! I’d offer them some of our bailout money if I thought they needed it!”

Jerry Newbury, fleet operations manager for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Ford’s decision to end production of the Crown Victoria is ushering in a wave of innovation in police cars that was long overdue.“They were very stale, very outdated and technology had not kept up,” Newbury said of the previous police cars. “I think there are some things coming in the next two or three years that are really going to change the police business.”

Newbury added, “thanks again to Ford for not making a modern rear-wheel drive, V8 powered Police Vehicle. This makes our decision 33% easier. Do you know a good vacation spot in the Caribbean? I got time off I really need to burn.”

Preliminary results from three-day tests hosted by the Michigan State Police are expected in several weeks and final results are scheduled to be published in December.

We already know the results. I’m memorizing the front/rear facades of the Charger and Caprice as we speak. Too bad neither of them are as memorable as the almond-eyes of the 90s Ford Police Interceptor. You know, that time when Panther Appreciation week happened in places outside of TTAC.

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92 Comments on “Between the Lines: For Police, Every Week Is Panther Appreciation Week...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m going to get arrested just so I can ride in a Caprice.  I think I like it even more than the CTS and G8.

  • avatar
    50merc

    So the new cop Charger “has 15% more visibility than the outgoing version because of an adjustment to the angle of the windshield.” Is this the first sign of some common sense returning to vehicle greenhouse design?

  • avatar

    But Ford has an RWD like Chrysler’s, they are selling one in Australia. I understand that the wrong driver location requires some changes for importing those. But then 25k sales should be enough to amortize the cost of those. Well, one would think.

  • avatar

    re the caprice: stylistically, I vastly prefer the bubble to the new one. but it’s great that they’re bringing back rwd.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    One: don’t treat our Taurus like your Crown Vic or any RWD Chrysler or GM cop car, because the transaxle might implode

    Now, to be fair, it’s not just (heck, probably not even mostly) the transaxle but the suspension as well.  My understanding is that the Charger’s front suspension isn’t appreciably more durable and certainly not very cheap to repair; I doubt the Zeta’s will be, either.

    I’ve also been the back of a cop-spec Charger (to give a witness statement in the rain!) and the front and rear space is negligible.  Is the cop-spec Zeta that much better?

    Now, all that said, police forces around the world use cars with a front suspension that would be twisted into a pretzel when driven like North American police drive the Panthers.  Perhaps it’s time for police officers (and cab drivers, once the supply of Vics dries up) to learn that you can hop curbs with impunity any more?

    Or are we just going to see more cop-spec Tahoes?

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Oh silly GM.  The Holden Commodore wasn’t appreciated until it was too late; and now Americans will get a taste of the Holden Statesman.  They will be driven by nice uniformed men who will be handing out performance certificates.
    Please GM, PLEASE.  Kill the W-Body Impala.  Bring back the Commodore and bring it back in sedan, wagon, and ute form.  Offer it up in the 3.0L DI, 3.6L DI, and 6.0L L76 with 6-speed manual or auto flavors.  Maybe a limited edition SS version with the LS9.
    Please!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      I would demand to have the Caprice/Stateman as Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Apparently I’ve been living under a rock, but OMG, there’s even a website for the Caprice Cop car!
      Oh yes, and it has been posted here too. In jalopnik, almost all the interwebz knows about it.
      In Aussiesland it’s also in some of their sites.
      I really hope they sell in the “thousands” over there.

      Oh noes, it should have run as an independent comment instead of a reply.
       

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      The W Chev sales are still too strong to kill.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup it’s baffling that GM aren’t marketing their best big car in the states. The VE Commodore is hawt! If I lived in a bigger country I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

      Implausibly enough I could get one over here but a) all our roads are too small and b) it’d have a stupid Vauxhall badge on the front.
       
      Hopefully GM will see sense and introduce a Holden based Impala replacement for you guys in the not too distant…

    • 0 avatar

      Splateagle, I can explain it in four letters. C.A.F.E.
      It’s why we don’t have the 550-HP HSV models in the USA and why the W body has been extended as long as it has. Yes it helps that the tooling has long been amortized and they still sell well, but there’s been demand for that RWD Impala for quite some time.
      That said, GM Inside News has reported one of the Holdens (Statesman/Commodore) will appear in Chevy trim – for civilian sale – within a couple years.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Ford shot themselves in the foot when they made the bone head decision to move police duties to a weak FWD platform.
     
    For all intents and purposes, the Crown Vic is a truck with a sedan body.  Able to take a tremendous amount of abuse and keep on plugging away, the Crown Vic does not fit Ford’s current M.O. of planned obsolescence.  And durability is only the tip of the iceberg.
     
    Maintenance costs will be MUCH higher with the Taurus, parts will be MUCH more expensive, repair times will be longer, they will not be as reliable, and the cost of admission will be higher.  Multiply all of that by 2 for the AWD/TwinForce models.
     
    The Taurus PI will be the Intrepid PI for 2011.  And since the Explorer is just a Taurus with more ground clearance, it will suffer from the same problems.
     
    GM stands to be the clear winner from this…
     
    And to everyone that says a FWD/AWD car is needed in the snow…1.  You don’t know how to drive, and 2, police agencies have been using (successfully I might add) RWD vehicles for a long time in the snow, and 3, a set of snow tires is A LOT cheaper than AWD and not only will snow tires assist you when accelerating, they will also help you when stopping and turning.
     

    • 0 avatar
      dusterdude

      +1.  Ford has generally made good decisions the last few years.  This is not one of them.
      Police agencies need cars that can mount curbs, which is far less destructive on a RWD vehicle.  Also, most do prefer RWD vs FWD for pursuits etc… 
      Not only is the sticker price higher on the Taurus, the maintenance cost will be much higher.
      Definately an “oops” to kill the Crown Vic (Panther) . 

  • avatar

    Have we seen the 2011 Charger before? This is the first time I’ve seen it.
    It appears that they’ve mainstreamed the A-pillar and IP.

    It’s certainly the winner if this were a beauty pageant. Though Dodge did cheap by fitting alloys.

  • avatar
    srogers

    You’re right about RWD being OK in snow with the proper tires. I don’t know if cop depts have the brains to put snow tires on the winter, but they should.
    As far as messing up by ditching the Crown Vic – if it was such a cash cow to be selling these cheap-ass fleet vehicles to cops, cabbies and ‘good-old-days boys’, don’t you think that they would have continued? In spite of the paid off mortgage on the tooling, maybe it just ain’t worth keeping an assembly line running for these living fossils (cars and their fans).

    • 0 avatar

      On that note, I can foresee cabbies and other livery fleet operators needling Chevy for a taxi/stripper version of the Caprice.  Maybe GM will even break down and offer the Caprice to the rest of us.  Sure it’ll cast the purchase of a DTS (or upcoming XLS or whatever) in serious doubt, but hey, gotta amortize those costs somewhere.  Get ready to see the Aussie transplants in cabbie yellow.
      I can’t see how the CVPI was put on ice unless Ford decided that the costs to keep it current vis-a-vis crash standards was higher than just designing another PI around an existing platform that was more up to date.  The only problem with that is how it had to be FWD, since nothing else other than the pickup truck line has RWD.  The interior space issue may be one of the reasons Ford is hedging its bets with a PI version of the Explorer.  That, and how they already know the Taurus PI will get stepped on in the cop market.

    • 0 avatar

      You seem to be forgetting the Mustang. But even if they could lengthen the wheelbase and add two doors, the cabin would be cramped and the trunk too small.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      As far as messing up by ditching the Crown Vic – if it was such a cash cow to be selling these cheap-ass fleet vehicles to cops, cabbies and ‘good-old-days boys’, don’t you think that they would have continued?
       
      No…because the Panthers are far too reliable and durable for the “new” Ford.
       
      I spoke with a person who builds Crown Vics at the St. Thomas plant and he stated to me that they can put a Panther together for $9K-$12K.  Police departments buy them for $20K-$23K.

    • 0 avatar
      Dukeboy01

      HA! Police departments are happy if their tires are round, black, and mostly hold air. Nobody’s ponying up for a dedicated set of tires to run for three months out of a year on all of their vehicles in the fleet.

      OTOH, you’d be surprised how far you can take a Crown Vic off road and how deep the snow has to be before the Crown Vic’s can’t handle it.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Nobody’s ponying up for a dedicated set of tires to run for three months out of a year on all of their vehicles in the fleet.
       
      Not in my city…..and for us…it’s more like 6 months

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again:  GM could have kept the B-body Impala/Caprice platform alive and well post-1996, with only minor reliability (bigger brakes, front-end components, etc) tweaks as well as the standard LT-to-LS engine upgrades and made $$$$.  Tooling was already paid for, the plant was already there, and they could have kept that plant open up to the present selling to just the police/fleet/taxi customers at probably 100K cars annually.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.

    The comment about the Prius running on mustache trimmings and donut frosting was priceless – where I live, the fruit loops in charge would no doubt go for this if they could (already driving said Priuii around town for city vehicles in order to save our planet).

    • 0 avatar
      brkriete

      If I recall correctly, GM actually stopped Caprice production because they wanted the production capacity for the then-more-profitable Tahoe.  So the choice wasn’t between “making money on a Caprice” and “not making money” it was between “making money on a Caprice” and “making twice as much money on the Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      GM kept the Tahoe up to date (such as it was) and buyers who used to pay big markups to buy larded up Caprices and Fleetwoods in previous times flocked to these vehicles, with GM adding extra helpings of gravy in the late 90s with the Denali and Escalade.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    I’m not convinced. I recall reading something a while back about the discontinued panther and that the cop market isn’t exactly the money pit everyone makes it out to be.  Which is why Ford decided they could pull the plug without any real loss.  And this is from a company that had a car’s R&D paid off way back. Good luck with this huge opportunity that Ford supposedly just “handed” you.

  • avatar
    coatejo

    If municipalities have a very strict “Buy American” purchasing policy the Taurus PI may come out on top as it is the only one of the three that is assembled in the US. I’ll bet Ford plays that up to sweeten the deal.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’m pretty the CVPI has been made in Canada for some time now.
       
      Considering that the Charger and Impala are also Canadian-made that would mean those districts with “Buy American” provisos must have been buying Tahoes or similar.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      If municipalities have a very strict “Buy American” purchasing policy the Taurus PI may come out on top as it is the only one of the three that is assembled in the US. I’ll bet Ford plays that up to sweeten the deal.
       
      Ford would be that stupid to play that up….seeing as they can’t really talk the car up.
       
      But the fact of the matter is, P-R-I-C-E is the BIGGEST factor in what a city buys.  So much so, that the .25C hub caps are a no-go for city as they add unneeded cost.  People will not be willing to pay an outrageous amount for the Taurus just because it’s built here…and seeing how the civilian version is severely overpriced, the PI version will be as well.
       
      There is no way Ford can sell a $38K Taurus SHO for $23K-$25K fleet price.  Plus…if you bought a SHOW for $38K-$40K…how furious would be if now the police are out there driving that SAME car (for $25K)…lowering your resale values?

  • avatar
    th009

    While police fleets may switch to the Caprice, Charger, Taurus or Tahoe — what’s the future for the limo fleets?  Those are probably 95% Town Cars today, and I doubt anyone will create a bespoke limo model.  The DTS is to be discontinued after the 2011 MY as well so that won’t be an option for the limo fleets, either.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There are already stretch conversions of the 300 and DTS, but what we’ll likely see is Suburbans, Yukons, Navigators and Escalades, as well as conversions on the GMT or F-Series chassis.
       
      it’s comparatively cheap to stretch a BoF truck.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Not talking so much about stretch limos but the standard off-the-assembly-line town cars used by the thousands for standard limo service.  Check any airport to see them by the scores.
       
      For airport limo service stretch conversions cut into the profit margins — and hurt the fuel economy, which is a significant factor in that business as well.  Hence not many Navigators or Escalades being used in the (standard) limo fleets.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      No limo based on any SUV, even a Range Rover, will ever have the same class as a commercial glass stretch limo based on a car chassis.  To make use of the phrase “wouldn’t be caught dead in one,” I hope whenever I die the funeral procession includes no SUV-mousines.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      No limo based on any SUV, even a Range Rover, will ever have the same class as a commercial glass stretch limo based on a car chassis

      No stretch limo is classy.  A long-wheelbase Mercedes S-Class?  Classy.  750Li?  Classy if cocky.  LS600hL?  Classy, if a bit dissonant.  LWB Town Car?  Classy, if a bit downmarket.  A8?  Classy.  Jag XJ?  Classy.

      Stretched Town Car?  High-school prom.  Anything stretched is by it’s very definition tacky.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @psarhjinian,
       
      +1

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      The future of the limo isn’t bleak. First of all, there’s the long-wheelbase luxury stuff — S-class, LS Lexus, Jag XJL, Audi A8L and the like. They are more often used by the top-end limo companies anyway, and are a lot cheaper (to them) than you’d think. Here in NYC, I see a lot of hybrid black hybrid Camrys. I’m also convinced that 95% of Mercedes’ R-class sales in the U.S. are pressed into limo service here.
      For smaller and more affordable, but with still-decent back seats, there are sedans like the Toyota Avalon, Chrysler 300 and whatever Cadillac replaces DTS with. Certainly Lincoln is going to offer sweet deals to the limo trade on the MKS.  Maybe Buick will have another Lucerne-sized car but I doubt it.
      As for the stretch market — yecch, BTW — I agree that’s going to be the province of BoF trucks.
       

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      “Anything stretched is by it’s very definition tacky.”
       
      Absolutely true.
      But the word “classy” is also incredibly tacky. My Dad always says, “people who use the word ‘class’ that way have none”.
       

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    What? No mention of Carbon Motors and their specifically designed for policework car, the E7!?!?

    • 0 avatar

      ‘Cuz Vaporware need not apply.
      I still don’t see how a suicide door, turbo diesel, custom platform, etc limited production Cop Car can be even remotely price competitive to a Charger, Caprice, Taurus, or whatever.
      I could see the Carbon doing quite well in Dubai, however.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbowski

      Just ask a couple residents of Indiana to respond…they are paying the taxes that the state or county (idk which county) gave to carbon motors to ‘rehab’ a auto plant and start production.  On a side note, I think Baruth should be allowed to investigate because I believe it is fairly close to Ohio…

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Z71_Silvy

    The REAL reason that the police cars don’t have full wheel covers is not due to the excessive initial cost, but due to the fact that they POP OFF during high-speed cornering.  Cities all over the place were getting tired of paying $$$ to replace all of the missing wheel covers in their police fleet.  This was even in the newspaper in my hometown back in the early 1990s, as their early 90s B-body Chevys came equipped with the full covers before they went to the center hub chrome ring.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

     
    Who needs a Falcon when Ford has a RWD platform begging to have a light bar on its roof? All those in favor of a Mustang-based, four-door Interceptor, say I!

  • avatar
    srogers

    Best police vehicle ever.
    Mahindra.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    too bad Ford cut out about 5 inches of rear leg room with the 2010 redesign…  so where it would have had the interior space to compete w/ hard front/rear divider, its now a big pig with mid-size space…

  • avatar
    segfault

    The independent suspension workings, 18″ wheels and tires, and the six-speed automatic aren’t going to be cheap to repair/replace in the near future.  No guarantee of durability, either–it’s all new technology compared to the Panther hardware.
     
    The new Caprice has a pollen filter, too.  I’d love to see that after a few gravel/dirt road pursuits.

  • avatar
    TokyoPlumber

    My guess is that the Dodge Charger will succeed the Ford Crown Victoria as the de facto standard police cruiser in North America.  I don’t think most police departments will move to a front wheel drive platform unless they have no other choice … so that rules out the Ford Taurus.
     
    The rear wheel drive Caprice may be a better overall car than the Charger (ie, in terms of size and performance).  However, the fact that the Caprice would be sold only as a police vehicle (and possibly as a taxi) is a significant disadvantage relative to maintenance and repair.  Civilian versions of the Charger already sell in volumes comparable to total police demand (60,000 to 100,000 units).  The existing base of (non-police) Charger sales should bode very well for the for the availability and price of most spare parts for police Chargers.  In addition, for smaller police departments outsourcing maintenance work should be easier and less costly (ie, as the Charger is a general market platform rather than a police-only special).

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Sounds like the Taurus police special isn’t floating PD purchasing agents’ boat. Not surprising. Police departments need the superior reliability and repair-ability inherent in rugged, body on frame, rear wheel drive, V8 vehicles.

    Can’t imagine the Caprice gaining acceptance without a GM guarantee it won’t abruptly discontinue the vehicle as it did with the Pontiac G8, through it’s clearly the superior vehicle.

    The Charger has a similar issue. Chrysler is far from being out of the financial woods. It is in no position to guarantee it’s longevity.
     

  • avatar
    the duke

    I’m wondering how long until Hyundai realizes that the end of the logical proliferation of the Genesis platform wears a light bar.

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Here’s the last version of the giant sized police car from Chrysler Corp.
    http://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/2-features/stories/470-1980-plymouth-gran-fury-police-car-from-crash-to-class-in-2-decades.html

  • avatar
    Loser

    The new Taurus should do very well ….with mall cops. I can’t believe Ford is wasting their time with this.

    IMHO the Caprice would have ended the CV’s dominance in the cop car market anyway.
    Question is, GM was struggling to make a profit off the GTO and G8 so how will the Caprice make a profit and still be competitive on price.

  • avatar
    coatejo

    I’m pretty the CVPI has been made in Canada for some time now.
     
    Considering that the Charger and Impala are also Canadian-made that would mean those districts with “Buy American” provisos must have been buying Tahoes or similar.

    I knew the Ford and Dodge were made in Canada, but thought the Caprice was made in Austrailia. Acually the old Crown Vic has a very high percentage of US components despite being built north of the border.

    No matter, I agree with most of the posts here that the Taurus is out classed here by the GM and Chrysler offerings. Having said that, it is very doubful that either will equal the reliability, maintainability, or affordability of the old Panther.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    I’m guessing that selling a 70s vintage design as a police cruiser was, sooner or later, going to set Ford up for a huge lawsuit from police widows.  I’m guessing that, with two competitors in the wings, it didn’t pay Ford to design a third RWD sedan for a modest market.
    Whoever wins this competition, getting the fossil that is the Crown Vic out of pursuit service is going to save the lives of more than a few cops.

  • avatar
    skor

    It’s actually a good business decision on the part of Ford.  That’s probably why Ford isn’t bankrupt.  Think about it, how much money is there in fleet sales?  If you don’t know, I’ll tell you: NOT MUCH.  The design and tooling costs for the late great panther platform were amortized decades ago.  Years and years of profits from civilian LTD’s, Marquis, Crown Vics and Lincolns.  The platform easily lent itself to cop car configuration, and it didn’t cost much to do, so why not?  On the other hand, do you think you could make a good business case for a wheels up new cop car design?  Especially if the platform wasn’t, or couldn’t, be used for anything else?  GM and Chrysler, on the other hand, really don’t need to worry much about annoyances like making a profit. Government bureaucrats seem to be more than happy in dumping bales of money from helicopters on both zombie companies.  Besides, have any of you every considered buying a Ford because most cop cars are Fords?  So let GM and Chrysler have the cop car business.   Eventually, the public may come to realize that they paid for those cars, paid for them twice.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    While the Panthers rule most of the PI world, I wonder how much penetration the Impala made as a police car.  In NYC there are a huge number of them.  Perhaps they work ok for the price for city duty?  I am assuming that police departments must track costs for repairs and operation.  If the business case didn’t hold water why would they buy them?  I would really like to get my hands on that info.  My cop friend in FL drives the CVPI exclusively.  They can take a serious amount of abuse, and most are driven about 150K before they are auctioned off.  Cab companies are the number one buyer of these old cop cars.  Lastly, why in the world would GM make the G8 platform a cop car only?  Seems that they would want any sale they can get…I would love to see a two door “Chevelle”…com’on GM, use your head…you could move at least 60K units/year more…without stealing sales from other GM products…

  • avatar

    What’s wrong with a Taurus police car? If it was good for Robocop, it’s good for non-cyborg police officers!
    That being said, I love the way the new Charger looks. I want a civilian version.

  • avatar

    This is not different than when GM discontinued the last Caprice back in the early 90s.  They ceded a big (and very visible and very lucrative) market to Ford to own.   Now history repeats itself in reverse.

    Ford Australia makes a knockout RWD car but it was never designed for left-hand drive or export.  Ford US did explore what it would take to export it but the total investment of over 300 million didn’t make it worth it at the time.  This was in 2005 when Lutz was in the middle of his Holden experiment.  Plus, Ford AU doesn’t have a huge production capacity so work would need to be added for the US and any other export market.

    But looking at what’s happening now, wouldn’t 300 million have been worth it to field a Ford Falcon Police Interceptor to replace the Crown Victoria? 

    • 0 avatar
      TokyoPlumber

      If Ford cedes the police cruiser market to GM or Chrysler (as most expect) then I think they’ll conclude that “Americanizing” the Falcon was a lost opportunity.  The article suggests that Ford currently holds seventy percent (70%) of the 75,000 unit per year police car market.  Amortizing your $300 million USD investment over four (4) years (ie, 52,500 units per year x 4 years = 210,000 units) works out to around $1,430 USD per car.  I don’t know the average fleet price for a police cruiser, but I suspect $1,430 USD is somewhere around five percent (5%) of this figure.

    • 0 avatar

      I got the 300 million figure from a story in the Aussie press about Ford looking at it’s global product portfolio for America and the Falcon was considered along with the Euro Fords for the US.  But as I mentioned Ford AU has never had an export program (unlike Holden) and didn’t engineer their cars for left-hand drive nor do they have the capacity.

      I suspect with everything taken into account the investment would be north of 300 million to federalize the Falcon and upgrade the plant.  But it would be a huge boon to Ford AU and would have given Ford a very competitive mainstream RWD car to sell in the US if not for just for fleets but for the public too.  Especially now that it’s adopting the new 5.0.

      I would put good money on GM getting the majority of Ford’s police market with the Caprice.  Too bad Ford didn’t put good money into the Falcon to bring it to the US to keep that from happening.

    • 0 avatar

      Bear in mind that while the EA169 platform under the Falcon isn’t as ancient as the Panther, it’s no spring chicken itself. Perhaps “Americanizing” a 12 year old platform to replace a design they’re retiring because of its age just didn’t stack up?

    • 0 avatar

      Well, the platform the current Mustang on (that everyone raves about) is ancient itself.

      Ford AU just spent a good chunk of money thoroughly refreshing that platform for the Falcon.  Many Aussie criticis think it’s a better car than the new structure VE Holdens have used since 2007.  Sounds a lot like the US with Ford and GM.

      Despite it’s age the Falcon is just as good if not a better car than what Chrysler makes and thoroughly competitive with the Holden Caprice GM will be selling to cops.

  • avatar
    daga

    That Taurus interior with all the cop stuff looks awful cramped for the 250lbers around my parts.
    The Chargers look cool, but since the Caprice looks so terribly boring and plain, it almost has a subliminal message of ‘safe choice’ about it.  Assuming the same price, I think the Caprice will win this one.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    It’s not particularly difficult to understand why the Panther is out: the 4.6L V8 is history as of 2011. As stated, there’s just not enough fleet volume profit to justify the cost of upgrading the Panther drivetrain with the new series of engines.

    It’s a shame, too, because the 5.0L might have finally given the old girl the cojones it so desperately needed since 1993 when the weak, no torque, cammed engine became the sole powerplant. Imagine cops in the sixties having to make do with a Galaxie sedan powered by a 289, and you get an idea of the kind of performer the 4.6L PI was. Hell, even the short-lived Mercury Marauder with its DOHC Cobra engine was a disappointment. There’s just no way around the fact that big, heavy, BOF sedans need the low-end torque that an old-school, pushrod V8 provides.

    If not for GM killing The Bubble in 1996, the Panther would have been gone long ago. But getting the RWD fleet market by default meant the Panther got to live on for the next 14 years with virtually no major changes to what was essentially a 1965 chassis.

    It was a good run but of the Big 2.5, Ford usually makes the best business decisions, and it really was time for the Panther to ride off into the sunset.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Quite right, the only reason Ford got to play king of the Cop Car Hill for so long is that everyone else essentially abandoned the market. But, cop cars need to be built off of production car platforms in order to be cost effective. I think GM is nuts to be planning a cop car specific platform for North America.
      Dodge has been trying to crack this market for years now with very, very limited success.
      The Panther lived on ten years past its sell by date. Say good night already.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      @John Horner, You hit the nail on the head.  For a cop car to be profitable, it must be build on a shared platform.  A stand alone cop car platform will be a money loser, that’s why GM and Chrysler gave up on the police car biz 15 years ago and why Ford is giving up now.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      What cops would like and the reality of the cost of obtaining saids wants are two different things.

      What Ford is probably offering is the lowest cost option which in the end will sale quite a few cars, I mean state, county and muni. government aren’t exactly doing so well right now (in fact the next big wave of BK’s will probably be over stretched muni’s, which will be a good thing).  How much will an imported dedicated police car cost?  Not just in purchase price, but in maint. cost, those cars go through hell.  In terms of chryco, how many prudent governments are sitting there saying do we want to buy these vehicles when we can’t be sure if they will be here in 5 years.  50,000 cars in a 10-12,000,000 market isn’t alot, it sure isn’t worth the costs of leaving a factory open just to produce 50,000 cars and the costs of modernizing the platform (or the cost of continuing the manufacture outdated components).

      Yes there are circumstances that will require specific vehicles, but I think ford is making the wise business decision (especially if they plan to bring over the falcon platform over as a dedicated lincoln platform, imagine the hell they would take (especially on this site) for selling it as a cop car as well), the impact on brand cache would far outweight the sales.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand the fanboy hype over the new Caprice.  I see them every day here in the Middle East and can attest that they are unattractive cars.  The base version is totally unremarkable… so bland it makes a Camry look thrilling in comparison.  The Caprice SS looks better, though it’s really just a G8 GT wearing a bowtie.  The interior for both is typical GM- big buttons, durable cloth, and no inspiration.

    Don’t get me wrong- I’m a Chevy guy and would quickly buy a Caprice over a Camry or Accord for family duty.  I also think the car will excel in police service (where bland styling is an asset).  But the car ‘is what it is’- a big, sturdy, boring sedan with a good powertrain.

  • avatar
    Nick

    From a maintenance perspective, I can just imagine the ease with which the police mechanics can perform work on the Crown Victoria.  They can probably swap out just about any component on those things with their eyes closed.  In about 30 minutes.

    • 0 avatar

      Working on cars isn’t rocket science.  The Dodge and Chevrolet though much newer engineering are just as easy to work on as a Crown Victoria. 

      Both have body, interior and mechanical parts that just bolt and unbolt.  I do plenty of work on my G8 GXP which is the shorter wheelbase version of the what the Police Caprice is.  Maintaining and repairing these cars isn’t going to be any more difficult than the Crown Victoria. 

      From the article, Jerry Newbury, fleet operations manager for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Ford’s decision to end production of the Crown Victoria is ushering in a wave of new police cars was long overdue.

      “They were very stale, very outdated and technology had not kept up,” Newbury said of the previous Crown Victorias. “I think there are some things coming in the next two or three years that are really going to change the police business.”

      I agree, there’s no good reason the police should be using antiques to protect and serve.  The Vic has had a good run but the new cars will be a welcome improvement.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Once again The Truth About Cars demonstrates that it is really The Truth About Old Men.
    Put on your glasses.  In the days of $3+ gas, FWD cars win.  Gas savings more than pay for the increased repair rates.
    NYPD has largely abandoned RWD cruisers.  Taxi companies in the two biggest taxi markets (NYC & Chicago) are abandoning them too.
    Since the Transit Connect came out, I have hardly seen any new E series downtown except with FedGov plates.
     
    Sajeev, you can interview as many purchasing agents as you want.  They’ll buy their initial batch of Chargers and Caprices, get killed on fuel AND repair costs, and then go begging Ford for a hybrid Fusion PI.
    PS – At least we can all agree that the Taurus PI is DIA.  Ford is probably just hoping to sell enough to make sure they have an audience if they ever decide to make a serious entry into the market.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Unless my prescription needs updating, I read here two incongruous statements.

      Your postscript agrees that the Taurus PI is dead on arrival for reasons you keep to yourself, but then you claim that the world is moving towards FWD and that’s all there is to it.

      Of the three police cars in this article, only the Ford is FWD.  What qualities of a Fusion, even a Fusion Hybrid, would lend itself to police work if the Taurus isn’t up to the job?

    • 0 avatar

      I totally see how FWD Hybrid powertrains could be real cost effective in Police fleets. I’d write the “additional training” manual for Ford to make that happen. It’d be the size of a phone book.
      Not to mention it’s pretty hard to catch a bad guy in a truck (our best selling vehicles) when he hops a curb, and the po-po grinds to a halt after shattering a CV joint.
      Oh wait, you don’t see trucks in NYC a whole lot. But if it works in NYC it’s gotta work everywhere, right?

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      In NYC the cops have been driving Altima hybrids for over two years and I just saw a few Fusion hybrids in the past two weeks.
      The Impalas, by the way, seem to hold up fine here. Then again, the NYPD has plenty of trucks and Crown Vics for curb-jumping.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    I actually saw a Taurus on the road the other day…and that car has some of the most awkward proportions on the road today.  The back end is 10 feet in the air and the windows are tiny.  Visibility as it is is bad enough but it will be down right unsafe when the cage, etc are installed.
     
    Ford loves to put form over function…and they don’t care that they are putting lives in danger.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I agree with Karesh. Just how difficult would it be to develop a lengthened sedan on the Mustang platform? Even if a bit small on the inside, it could be the bomb in this segment, especially if it’s 500 lbs. lighter than Caprice, Charger and Carbon Motors. Besides, if the cops need to carry lots of people, what stops them from radioing for vans, trucks and SUVs?
    This is hardly anything new. Haven’t state police forces been using Mustangs and Camaros for high-speed work for 30 years?
    It wouldn’t be too shabby to offer to sedan and wagon versions to civilians in Ecoboost 4 and V-6 configurations either but I know I’m dreaming. The point is that Ford is wasting its time with the Taurus in this segment and has other niche options it’s ignoring.

  • avatar
    thebeelzebubtrigger

    There’s really no good reason for BOF RWD gas hog police cars. TV glamorizes high speed car chases, but in fact there’s no excuse for such shenanigans in this day and age. Radios and ubiquitous surveillance have made the traditional “interceptor” concept obsolete, but the cops still enjoy playing at childish games at the expense of public safety. It’s shameful, and we foot the bill.


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