• Aug 28th 2009 at 11:30AM
  • 61
Quick quiz: What vehicle transported Paris Hilton to prison? If you answered Ford's Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, you took the easy route and you were correct. The older than thou Crown Vic accounts for about 85% of the 75,000 police vehicles sold each year – a market where styling, amenities and new safety features have little to do with the vehicle's success.

The CV's body-on-frame construction helps the ubiquitous cop cruiser stand up to the punishment doled out by the guys and gals in blue. Body-on-frame platforms are generally also easier to repair, and anyone who has been in a police parking lot can plainly see that these vehicles take a big-time beating in the name of public safety. The CV is also rear-wheel drive for better handling, it's large enough to fit even the biggest of felons (and cops), and its column-mounted shifter enables the fuzz to have plenty of room for a laptop. But alas, the Crown Vic is also older than dirt. We'd joke that Henry Ford himself had a hand in the creation of the CV, but chances are that Henry II actually did, and he retired as the head of the Blue Oval when Pong was state-of-the-art video gaming technology.

According to The Detroit News, in June, Ford hosted police personnel from some of America's biggest cities to discuss the future of the police cruiser. The Dearborn, MI-based automaker told the police departments that the Crown Vic would be gone by 2011. That's bad news for departments like the LAPD, which has a shop set up specifically to deal with the CV. Some police departments told the Motown newspaper that rear-drive vehicles like the Charger can't hold up to the abuse of police work. Others are looking into the Impala, though the front-drive Chevy hasn't gained much traction with law enforcement. One ray of hope could come in the form of the Carbon Motors E7 purpose built police cruiser, but it isn't quite ready for prime time yet, and it's likely to be significantly more expensive than the equivalent Blue Oval cruiser.

Ford is in a bit of a predicament in that the Crown Vic has the police (and cab) market to itself and, as Ford President Mark Fields points out to The Detroit News, the CV gives Ford a presence in just about every municipality in America. One vehicle that Ford gave to police to drive during their stay in Dearborn was the new Taurus, which is almost as big and roomy as the CV, but with far more safety tech, improved fuel economy and the (costly) option of an Ecoboost V6 under the hood in the form of the SHO model. The Taurus may not be the ultimate answer (at least it won't be outrun by a Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima), but Ford insists that it isn't giving up its police share without a fight.

[Source: Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seems like a great way to diminish the market value of the hyped new Taurus would be to make police versions which will also become taxis as well in many places.

      Since they have the market cornered how hard would it have been for Ford to develop a purpose built police model off an existing platform?
      • 6 Years Ago
      All this talk about other car models not being able to withstand the punishment and not having the same handling as the Crown Vic is what they tell the public. The truth is the Crown Vic allows for the best access for the driver cop and partner cop to reach for the box of doughnuts placed on the dash, even with the mandatory computer in the center console. The Carbon Motors E7 was designed around this very feature! True story.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And the failure that is Ford continues.

      The new limp-wristed Taurus will NOT:

      Be as reliable as the CV
      Be as cheap to operate as the CV
      Be as inexpensive to buy as the CV
      Be as durable as the CV

      And there is no way that Ford will offer a $38K sport sedan to police agencies. The police Taurus will be (under) powered by the 3.5 V6.

      • 6 Years Ago
      It's sad to see the last American body on frame car go.... but it's time
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, the Corvette is still body-on-frame.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're right! Forgot about that.
        How about last American body on frame classic sedan?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd say just keep the CV only for police and commercial use only. Just update with maybe a more fuel efficient engine etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What ever happened to the Ford Interceptor Concept? I thought that was supposed to be the Crown Vic replacement? If I remember correctly it was basically a large sedan version of the Mustang, which seems like it would be a perfect replacement as it could do just about everything the CV could.
      • 6 Years Ago
      they kept the Ranger for so long I don't see why Ford just doesn't adapt a similar formula for the CV. Keep the Exterior the same (I doubt law enforcement will be disappointed if the CV doesn't receive the company grille anyway) and just update the engines. If that 3.7 is going in the Mustang it can fit in the CV.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Ford was truly interested in the police-car business, they shouldn't have given up on the large RWD platform. The Panther platform is sorely outdated, true, but they could have invested in a new modular platform that could be trimmed down for Mustang use. I was sorry when they did away with the Lincoln LS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Look at all the 'enthusiasts' crying over a damn cop car. Are any of you reading what you're writing? I only deal with 5-0 when I need 5-0. Don't get me wrong, I'm rooting for 'em to get the idiots committing crimes and the ones truly making the roads unsafe. You know, their jobs.

      But please, spare me the tears for the Ford Crown Victoria. How many of ya'll are actually glad to see one of those in one of your mirrors while driving? How many heart palpitations do you think these cars are responsible for when they pass by ("Please, please be a sheriff's deputy or a city employee...please, please, no brakelights...oh gawd please don't let him turn around!...")?

      F@$# the Crown Victoria. I wish Ford had killed it ten years ago. Who the hell cares that its tooling is paid for? Big deal--so is/was the infrastructure for landline telephone and analog TV. Never mind the Crown Vic is an outdated, inefficient model that won't keep officers safe from accidents like modern cars would--it's easily the most annoying vehicle on the road.

      There is not another car that universally puts frowns on the faces of drivers. Not an Aveo, not a Prius, not some bum's smoky oil-leaking Pinto--a Crown Victoria. Get rid of them, all of them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As others have said, if Ford really wants to keep the market for cop cars, cabs etc, they should start building a badge engineered LHD Falcon in the USA. The falcon has already been proven as both a cop car AND a cab here in the land down under and has a nice selection of engine choices (including an LPG model which is what a lot of the cabs use)

      And, unlike the Crown Vic, they could sell the civilian version of the Falcon to the same sorts of people who liked the G6/G8, especially if they offered FPV-style enhancement packages.

      Having the falcon used as a fleet car (cop car, rent-a-car, taxi etc) doesn't seem to have hurt its resale value in the land down under either (but of course the US market may be different)

      • 6 Years Ago
      Ok, so all police depts love and want more of this car, Ford paid off the R&D decades ago, and they are consistently selling at least 75,000 a year with a nice profit margin. Why again are they discontuing them?
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Why again are they discontuing them?"

        I'm going to guess CAFE.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Luis the cops won't get good fuel mileage in any car.

        My parents both own crown vics and consistently get over 22mpg
        • 6 Years Ago
        yep, old and inexpensive does not mean crappy.

        The CV has a very definite niche that it succeeds in, and while the Charger is making inroads in that it has better handling and styling, the fact is for cops and cabbies, low cost, low repair costs, and durability are key components to success and the CV platform nails those
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, but ~15mpg is not cost effective. And don't try and tell me they get higher MPGs...as much idling and pedal to the metal those cars do they do not get 28mpg.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Engineer the bay for the new V6's that are stronger than the old 2v V8s. Ecoboost as an option.

        If I were the Chinese or Bricklin, I'd buy up Ford's tooling and keep it in production until the end of time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't imagine why Ford would abandon a captive market like this. It's like someone having the market cornered on water and saying, "No need to sell this stuff anymore". It seems logical to this simple man for Ford to invest a LITTLE more money in the patform to keep their loyal market base happy for a few more years.
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