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If it weren't for the somewhat obsessive and frankly narrow-minded love by taxi drivers and police officers for the body-on-frame Ford Crown Victoria, we'd imagine the old Panther platform would have been put out to pasture a very long time ago. As it stands, though, New York cabbies especially seem hell-bent on keeping it around on life support as long as possible.

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If it weren't for the somewhat obsessive and frankly narrow-minded love by taxi drivers and police officers for the body-on-frame Ford Crown Victoria, we'd imagine the old Panther platform would have been put out to pasture a very long time ago. As it stands, though, New York cabbies especially seem hell-bent on keeping it around on life support as long as possible.

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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.

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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.

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As we reported earlier today Ford's Australian arm has announced a big investment that includes aid from the Australian government. It will result in the development of an engineering and design "centre of excellence" for the Asia Pacific and Africa region, as well as new product plans that may, just may produce the next Crown Vic in the U.S.

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