Ford Motor Co.
recently met with the heads of several of the nation’s largest police
fleets in Dearborn, MI to talk about the future of police vehicles.
The Crown Victoria,
an invaluable asset to police fleets for years, is being discontinued.
Ford has not sold the Crown Vic to consumers since 2007, but will
continue to produce the cars as fleet vehicles until 2011. Although
the Crown Victoria is on its way out, Ford is committed to remaining an
integral part of America’s police force.
Ford’s major offer to the nation’s police fleets has been the new Taurus sedan.
While it may seem like an excellent opportunity for an upgrade, the
Taurus and other newer cars lack some of the features that made the
Crown Victoria so effective. The Crown Vic was a body-on-frame car,
which made it extremely tough and easy to repair in the event of a
collision. It has a column shifter, which frees up the center console
area for guns and electronic equipment. It also boasts enough rear
space for a spacious trunk while still accommodating two suspects in
the back seat.
In addition to these major features, most aftermarket police
equipment is built specifically to fit inside a Crown Victoria. When
some fleets attempted to switch their fleets over to Chevrolet Impalas,
they found that their communications equipment would not fit in the
vehicles. The Crown Victoria also has rear-wheel drive, which allows
for greater handling and more even weight distribution.
With these features missing from many of its current models, Ford
has yet to decide on what vehicle will be chosen to replace the Crown
Victoria when it finally retires.
“We’ve got some big decisions to make, and we’re making them,” said
Jim Farley, head of global sales, marketing and service for Ford. “We
have no intention of walking away from our share of that market.”
Other companies are anxious to take over Ford’s contract with police fleets; other big automakers are eyeing the prize, but the Canadian Auto Workers
and some small start-ups are also looking to provide law enforcement
agencies with the perfect police cruiser. Ford however, is determined
to stay in the game, and not just for the money: Ford Americas
President Mark Fields says “Every municipality has police, so you have
Ford product everywhere across the country. It reinforces that Ford is
part of the community.”
Photo courtesy of banspy under the Creative Commons License.