There was little question that when the latest presidential limo, known as "The Beast," entered service in 2008, it represented the very state of the art (if not the union) in executive protection. But that was over five years ago – longer than the previous Cadillac DTS presidential limousine was in service – and considering that it's widely believed to be riding on a truck chassis and weigh as much as a tank, that's a long time to keep it running. So it should only stand to reason that the Secret Service – that branch of the US Treasury Department Department of Homeland Security tasked with protecting the president – should be gearing up to replace it.

When we reported on the project back in July, we promised to bring you more information when we had it, and now we do. The tender calls for four phases of development: the first is developing the armor, the second is the integration of said armor into the vehicle, the third on validation and testing, and the fourth on production. Bidding is open exclusively to American automakers (sorry, Audi), with the selected supplier to be awarded the contract by August 29 and pressed into service in time to transport the next president and his or her administration.

Chrysler is confirmed to be working on its proposal (assuming it's still based in the United States by then), and you can bet that General Motors, which has built the president's Cadillac limousines for the past three decades, will be vying to keep it in house. We wouldn't be surprised if Ford were pitching a Lincoln-badged proposal, and while the tender calls for a "major automaker," we can't help but wonder if some smaller outfits like AM General or even Tesla might be in the game as well. President Obama has, after all, called for an electric-powered limousine, but that's something the Secret Service was not prepared to provide... at least, not at the time.

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