It's hard to turn away as loyal customer base as Ford has for its Police Interceptors, but the writing is on the wall for the Ford Crown Victoria, and has been for some time. The full-size sedan is based on Jurassic-era technology, and as of last year, it was taken off the consumer market and is available essentially only by fleet purchase for police, taxis and such. But even those are reportedly slated to be discontinued by 2011 (as are the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car). With the Crown Vic still worth 65,000 units annually, Ford isn't keen to leave the segment to the competition.

At the Detroit Auto Show two years ago, Ford showed the Interceptor concept, but sources suggest that it was never meant for production. And with the cancellation of the Blue Oval's rear-wheel-drive platform, Ford is reportedly looking at front- and all-wheel drive options over the long term. Could that include the new Taurus? Possibly, but so far Ford's not saying, and besides, that would conflict with the Blue Oval's new "flagship" messaging for the sedan.

For his part, Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of marketing and communications, says that he envisions a move from "the legacy products" to all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive unibodies over the long haul, and perhaps unibody rear-drive crossovers as an interim solution.

We'll be watching – engines running and sirens blaring – to see what Dearborn has up their sleeves.

[Source:Automotive News, sub. req'd]