In a surprise move, Ford has announced that it will pursue the development of an all-new Police Interceptor model. The move comes on the heels of General Motors' announcement that it plans to challenge the Crown Victoria's law enforcement dominance with its own heavy-duty Chevrolet Caprice sedan.
Details are slim, but Ford says the forthcoming PI will arrive in 2011 and it will sport durability, safety, and performance parameters that are superior to that of the Jurassic Panther-platform Crown Vic. Given the relatively tight timeframe and durability targets, we have to assume that the replacement cop car could be based on the rear-drive Australian-market Ford Falcon shown above. The Blue Oval promises that the car will be engineered and built in America, so it could also be an Ecoboost version of the Ford Taurus (as seen in the SHO), but front-drive cars have had trouble meeting the durability and cost requirements of police duty in the past, making this something of an open question. In an official release posted after the jump, Ford says it will disclose full vehicle specs in the first quarter of 2010, which should give enough time for both law enforcement and police vehicle equipment manufacturers to prepare for the changeover.
Ford says it presently shifts about 45,000 of the 60,000 police cars sold in the States each year, so it makes sense that Dearborn would not be willing to cede this market to Chevy's Caprice and the already established Dodge Charger.
FORD ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF ALL-NEW POLICE INTERCEPTOR FOR LAW ENFORCMENT USE NATIONWIDE
* Ford confirms development plans of an all-new Ford Police Interceptor and affirms continued commitment to the police and municipal vehicle businesses
* New Police Interceptor's durability, safety and performance will exceed the existing Crown Victoria's law enforcement vehicle lineup
* Ford is the market leader in the law enforcement vehicle segment, selling 45,000 of the 60,000 police vehicles sold in each year in the U.S.
Dearborn, Mich., Nov. 13, 2009 – Ford Motor Company announced today it will produce an all-new purpose-built Police Interceptor specially designed and engineered to replace the Ford Crown Victoria law enforcement vehicle lineup in 2011.
The new Ford Police Interceptor is being developed in conjunction with Ford's Police Advisory Board, which provided input during the past 14 months on key vehicle attributes, such as safety, performance, durability, driver convenience and comfort. The new Police Interceptor will be offered without interruption when production of the Ford Crown Victoria ends in late 2011.
"We have heard the repeated requests from the law enforcement community to continue uninterrupted support of the law enforcement community," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Ford is answering the call with the new Police Interceptor – engineered and built in America."
Ford – which currently controls approximately 75 percent of the police pursuit vehicle business in the U.S. – has invested significantly in designing the purpose-built new police and municipal vehicles to meet the needs of these crucial customers.
The new Police Interceptor is designed to provide municipalities with reduced ownership costs through improved fuel efficiency, quality and the kind of durability police departments nationwide have come to expect from Ford.
"Ford's commitment to the law enforcement community produced the Crown Victoria, the benchmark police vehicle," said Lt. Brian Moran, fleet manager, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a member of Ford's Police Advisory Board. "This commitment has continued, and Ford has been working closely with the Police Advisory Board on developing the new Police Interceptor. I am confident that the next-generation Ford police vehicle will meet the future needs of the law enforcement community and will set the new standard."
Ford plans to reveal the new model and provide full vehicle specifications in the first quarter of 2010 – in time for law enforcement agencies, police equipment manufacturers and upfitters to develop a transition plan from the Crown Victoria to the new product.
Each year, Ford sells approximately 45,000 police vehicles, making the Blue Oval the nation's largest provider of police and municipal vehicles.
"Ford long has supported our public servants with vehicles that work as hard as they do," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service. "We intend to build on this legacy with a new generation of municipal and police vehicles that set even higher standards."
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