By on December 30, 2014

ford explorer police interceptor utilityAs the Explorer goes, so goes the Ford Police Interceptor Utility. Unfortunately for Ford, as the Taurus goes, so too goes the Police Interceptor Sedan.

Sales of civilian Explorers in the United States are up 6% through the first eleven months of 2014. Ford sold 14,949 Explorers in November, a 13% improvement. In addition to those Explorers, Ford sold 18,823 Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utilities between January and November of this year, a 47% increase compared with 2013’s first eleven months. The Police Interceptor Utility went on sale in March 2012. Its best month so far was May of this year, when 2277 were sold, a 98% jump from May 2013 and a 196% improvement compared with May 2012.

While the Taurus-based Police Interceptor Sedan initially sold more frequently than its Explorer compatriot – 2446 more copies in 2012 – it’s been the less popular member of the duo since March 2013. In terms of sales, the difference between the pair has been widening as Taurus Police Interceptor sales have decreased in 2014, year-over-year, while Explorer Police Interceptor sales have been rising.

Not surprisingly, with the market for flagship sedans at volume brands degrading, sales of the civilian Taurus are in decline, as well, falling 23% this year and 38% in November. Only 2733 non-police Tauruses were sold in November, a 1667-unit loss for a Ford car division which slid 5% thanks to declines from the C-Max, Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion. (Not surprisingly, the new Mustang is a hot ticket.)

ford taurus police interceptor sedanWith one month of 2014 left to report, Ford sold 28,370 Police Interceptors in the United States in 2014. Fully two-thirds of those sales were generated by the Explorer Police Interceptor, up from 56% during the first eleven months of 2013. Unfortunately, sales figures for rival police cars – the Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Tahoe, and in Mexico, the enviable Nissan Tsuru – aren’t broken down in sales releases from other automakers. Not even the Carbon Motors E7.

Apparently Ford-driving officers of the law, at least north of the Rio Grande, have the same inclinations as the market at large, as large sedan sales are in a gradual state of decline and the SUV/crossover boom continues unabated.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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63 Comments on “Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Is Twice As Popular As Taurus Police Interceptor...”


  • avatar
    an innocent man

    1. Cops like to sit up high too.
    2. Easier ingress/egress for certain individuals.
    3. Need more cargo room for all that SWAT gear in case you find a 14 year old with a marijuana plant.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    No, duh… cops are usually big guys and they’re all encumbered with more gear than an Apollo astronaut. Forcing them to use a squashy modern sedan, itself stuffed with bulky tech, is cruel and unusual punishment.

    For every walk of life, eff sedans.

  • avatar

    It seems like my local law-enforcement agency has jettisoned its supply of Crown Victorias. By and large, the majority of the officers seem to drive the new Taurus PI. I’m not sure if they have the EcoBoost engine, and quite frankly, I’d rather not have to find out…although even a regular Taurus would outrun my car. The sheriffs get HEMI-equipped Chargers (of course), and there are a few Caprice PPVs running around as unmarked, undercover cars…but of course when you know that the Caprice is only sold *as* a police cruiser, it takes away the surprise. There are a few Explorer PIs running around, but I mostly see those used for security efforts, at places like the shopping mall and the hospital.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Sad face, because liking both these vehicles along with the Dodge Charger, I can no longer see myself driving a “Cop Car” and be thought of in the same light as the old guy who slowly drives the Grand Marquis interrupting and then p1ssing-off traffic because everyone thinks he’s a cop :(

    Thanks Ford

    • 0 avatar
      gkhize

      I drove a 1979 LTD Laundau back when almost every law enforcement vehicle was a Ford LTD/Crown Vic. I always got a kick out of driving down the interstate at night with hardly anyone passing me and looking back to see a long line of headlights afraid to go around me.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      No, it’s reality. Cops want more room, same with SUV buyers. The Crown Vic was outdated and overrated. Even cab drivers don’t want them anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      How about the old guy who *quickly* drives his Grand Marquis, thus falsely alarming the great unwashed non-Panther driving but Panther-fearing populace?

      Hey, I resemble that remark!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    You know, it’s interesting how in Europe you might see police in an VW Golf, Opel Vectra or BMW 316d—or for that matter, walking—but here it’s Tauruses, Explorers and Tahoes all the way.

    Just issue them Humvees and be done with it. Don’t forget the chain-gun in the back.

    I’m rather lucky that I live in a modest, small town, but even here it’s all Hemi Chargers, all the time. I’m not sure what for, considering how unambitious criminals are.

    Crime is falling across the board. I think we stop now.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Sigh.. Spamblock

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I was surprised how fast the Explorer Interceptor replaced Expedition PI and Tahoe PI models out here.

    Some may sing the BOF gospel but apparently even the cops would rather have the best of both worlds in a CUV that sits up high like an SUV but has the ride comfort and cornering ability of sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ PrincipalDan – Regarding cornering ability, you got me curious enough to check C&D’s review of the Explorer Sport (reasoning that Explorer PI:Explorer Sport::Taurus PI:Taurus SHO). I’m mildly surprised at how narrow the performance gap is: “In our testing, the Explorer Sport bolted from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and clawed around the skidpad at 0.84 g—not bad for a 4947-pound beefcake. Those numbers trail the much-lighter Taurus SHO’s by 0.7 second and 0.02 g . . . .” At 8/10ths, I’d much rather be in the Taurus, but still.

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-ford-explorer-sport-test-review

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I can’t imagine the Explorer Police Interceptor lifecycle cost being comparable to the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV, unless Ford is giving them away. Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The 4WD Tahoe wasn’t pursuit rated until the 2015 model. The Explorer and Taurus Interceptors were the first AWD pursuit rated vehicles. That is a big seller up here in the snowbelt.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I see the demise of the Crown Vic as a huge boom for GM. I see police spec Tahoe’s both 4×4 and 4×2 frequently. They vastly outnumber Explorers and Taurus units in my part of the Great White North. I’m even seeing more crewcab pickups being used.
        It used to be a case where the only one’s who got SUV’s or trucks were rural police or specialized forces like dog men or senior officers i.e. corporal, sergeants and higher rank .

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    So I still see handfuls of ex-cop/government Vics running about town here.

    I would LOVE… yup, love, love, love… a Police Interceptor Vic with rubber floors, upgraded suspension, etc.

    But I’m still trying to picture (years from now) these Explorer Police Interceptors living their second lives as civilian vehicles. I’ve got a hunch they will be well-worn and clapped out, unlike the Panther-platformed Vics. Rather, unable to withstand the abuse from law enforcement that the Panthers did.

    And who the hell does hoonage in an SUV, anyway. Why would you want to??

    Nice to see Johnny Law is drinking the crossover Kool-Aid like the rest of the population. Still baffles me though, honestly.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Re hoonage…
      Smarter departments concerned about liability would be wise to have a couple days driving familiarization with these vehicles. Of course, ‘Stability Control’ makes these a far cry from a ’93 Bronco or a sedan of that era.

      But they’re far less stable than today’s sedans, and many who drive C/SUV’s develop less than careful habits.

      • 0 avatar
        OhMyGoat

        It’s now almost entirely CHP Explorers on my NorCal commute. First time I saw one running a traffic break, it reminded me of killer whale swimming a slalom course.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        An Explorer will literally run circles around even a police-spec Crown Brick. My cop cousins say they are race cars in comparison. The Crown Brick is a hilariously terrible car, other than you can bash it into and over things.

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          “…other than you can bash it into and over things.”

          Yes!!!!! Yes!!! Lol

          Abuse. Then abuse it some more.

          Rinse and repeat.

          A Marauder would certainly do the trick… but I’d feel bad abusing one of those.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “And who the hell does hoonage in an SUV, anyway. Why would you want to??”

      Jack it up and off-road the snot out of it of-course! Its what SUVs are…well WERE for.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    In NYC the other weekend I saw several Ford Fusions being used by the NYPD. Ford hasn’t released a Fusion Police Intercepter right? Does anybody else know of police departments choosing the Fusion over the Taurus?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I just want those wheels for my MkTs winter set up.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      +1 Absolutely!

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        They are expensive! Almost $400 a wheel. I need to find some reproductions.

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          Do the huge majority of police vehicles use steel rims for the “curb clouting” ability (aka ductility) to “take a licking and keep on motoring” when things get intense?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Sedan Interceptors, Utility Interceptors, Caprice PPV, Tahoe PPV and Charger Pursuit are only available with steelies from the factory. Yes it is due to the fact that they will stand up to curb hopping better and because they are cheaper to produce. Of course they are not cheaper to replace for what ever reason. They are heavier duty than standard steel wheels but not enough to make them worth 3-4 times a civi wheel.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Wanted a full size spare for my Grand Marquis that came to me with steelies. Ford wanted something like $500-600 dollars for one! I nearly — well, you know what, but I don’t want this to have to await moderation.

          Started shopping around, first for used, too rusty, already had that problem with one of mine.

          Finally found a pair, I think at Rock Auto, delivered for around $150 for a pair, delivered, with a couple of other aftermarket places offering newly manufactured identicals for just a few bucks more than that.

          So if you want one of those $400 Ford wheels, I’d suggest giving it a little time and then start scouring for aftermarket identical replacements.

  • avatar
    Joss

    More useful in the planets more extreme weather conditions. Better trunk space for a drone. About time some of the added drive components improved in durability and came down in price.

    The UK police have been using the Range Rover for decades for expressway patrol.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’m not at all surprised.

    Peeked into a PA statie’s Taurus at the Wawa and it looks about as roomy as my 87 Corollova.

    At least black helps hide the ugly, bulgy proportions of the Explorer a little bit.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Given from what I’ve heard from cops they prefer the Explorers extra interior space, the Taurus continues the Crown Vics tradition of “big car, little space”, though at least the Vic had less clutter.

    Realistically theres little reason to pick a Taurus over an Explorer, both are essentially the same vehicle but with the Explorer you get a nice boxy body and a bit of extra space.

    If anything I wonder if Ford intentionally made the Taurus a little cramped to keep it from taking away from their CUV sales.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      I find the Explorer application ridiculous myself.

      Take, for instance… the use of Suburbans by our fine folks in Border Protection down on the southern border.

      That’s an application which makes sense. It’s a vehicle which can handle the desert terrain.

      Now, on the other end of the spectrum, why Officer Joe needs a crossover for his urban beat and/or highway pursuit beats the hell out of me.

      Oh please, please, please… just bring back Police Interceptors in the form of a new Mustang. (Just doing a little daydreaming over here, remembering the Interceptor Fox Bodies.)

      Sigh.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Most modern cars don’t have much ground clearance, nor enough space for two 400 pound occupants, countless police gadgets (and essentials like doughnuts), a protective wall in the back, nor space in the trunk for additional police equipment.

        CUVs provide better ground clearance and generally more interior space while still having car-like handling.

        I think its a bit silly myself, but there aren’t that many options out there that give you something that can jump curbs to no end.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The Maine State Police have a pile of Mustangs, all unmarked. Probably about 5 years old now. The only giveaway is the tinted windows. They park them in the winter. Of course in the context of Maine, a pile means they probably have 10-20 of them.

        I once asked a state cop how he liked it when I ran into one (not literally) at McDonalds when they first got them – he just smiled and said he found it a little cramped. As usual, the dude was about 6’5″ and built like a barn.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    >why Officer Joe needs a crossover for his urban beat and/or highway pursuit beats the hell out of me.<

    They want to be able to look down into vehicles as they pass them.

  • avatar

    There is only about a $2k difference in price between the two AWD versions, which would you pick? The extra width of the Explorer, and better cargo, plus sitting up high. Presence is important too. I’m a supporter of departments being good stewards of my tax dollars, but I think the Explorer offers a better value.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Another thing to think about is that since the SI and UI were introduced the PPV became more available. So there is another choice if you want a sedan police car and it is RWD. Yeah the Charger has been available for a long time buy many depts believe in the old saying. “Fool me once shame on you fool me twice….um….won’t get fooled again” So one batch of Chargers was enough for many agencies.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      “So one batch of Chargers was enough for many agencies.”

      The City of Richardson TX must be gluttons for punishment because they were one of the first in my area to switch from Crown Vics to Chargers. Then the last couple years they have been switching to the new 2nd gen Chargers.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Must be only a few small agencies around here use them. The State Patrol bought them early on and quickly ordered as many Crown Vics as possible and put a bunch in storage, they suplemented them with Tahoes and now have a bunch of Caprices. City of Seattle ordered some once. City of Renton had a bunch and then replaced them with Tahoes and now Utility Interceptors. City of Lakewood had a batch and then started sending out their Crown Vics for complete refurbishment, with a few upgrades included. http://www.government-fleet.com/channel/maintenance/news/story/2010/07/lakewood-saves-money-by-fixing-up-squad-cars.aspx While the article cites the savings in all the TV spots they also noted that they were doing it because they couldn’t buy new Crown Vics and found the other alternatives on the market, that they tried, unacceptable.

        If you look around for retired police cars for sale you’ll find many of the Chargers are retired around the 60K mark while they hold on to Crown Vics and Tahoes until 120K or more.

      • 0 avatar

        I saw that, RPD also had 2nd gen Explorers for a bit as well in the ’90s and ran the Caprice for as long as they could, till they finally went to CVPI, then quickly switched to Chargers.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Around here, the local guys have Chargers while the State Troopers are all Ford.

      I guess the Charger is good enough at being a patrol vehicle for a smaller department in a low-crime area.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    The first time I ever got pulled over in 1998 or 1999, it was a Chevrolet Caprice. The last time I got pulled over, last month, it was what was likely the last Ford Crown Vic in the Garland PD motor pool. For my area, North Dallas, we get a variety. Dallas seems to prefer Chargers, Richardson likes Chargers, Garland prefers Chevrolet PPV’s, and Plano rolls around in a fleet of Tahoes.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    See mostly Explorers but I see quite a few Chargers in use by law enforcement. Very seldom see a police version of the Taurus but there are still many Crown Vics.

  • avatar
    stuki

    And MRAPs are more popular than either……

  • avatar
    TrenchFoot

    A buddy of mine is the lead driving instructor for his city’s police department. He told me after a day at the track testing all the major offerings that he was surprised by the performance of the Explorer-based Interceptor. I was expecting the Caprice to stand out. He said the twin turbo, AWD Explorer was the star of the track.

    But I kept pressing him about the Caprice. He said the seats were too tight with a full utility belt. I suspect that alone will drives sales away.


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