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by Tim Beissmann

General Motors admits there have been delays in delivering Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicles to US departments that could affect future orders of the Holden-based Australian-made large car.

Florida-based Largo Police Department deputy chief Jeff Undestad told US website DuPont Registry his unit was forced to wait 13 months from the time it placed its order to when the cars arrived ready for service.

Undestad explained it took GM more than eight months to deliver the cars and another five months at the dealership to be fully equipped for police work.

Rick Carnley from fellow Florida unit Clearwater Police Department said GM took 10 months to deliver its two Caprice PPV test cars. Carnley said his department had serious concerns about GM’s ability to make timely deliveries in the future.

GM spokeswoman Pamela Flores told DuPont Registry it estimated current lead times of around five months for its Caprices – about double the time Carnley says it takes Chrysler to deliver a Dodge Charger police car. Flores said the lengthy shipping time from Australia had been a factor in longer lead times.

Holden’s Emily Perry said there had been no delays in the local production or shipping process of Chevrolet Caprice PPVs and said there were no plans to make changes to the local procedure to attempt to reduce overall delivery times.

The left-hand-drive Chevrolet police cars are produced alongside the Holden Commodore at the Holden Vehicle Operations plant in Elizabeth, South Australia. They are then shipped to California where they go through an import process before being transported – generally by train – to dealerships.

Flores said GM was making every effort to complete orders as quickly as possible, and has now built up inventory at the port that should reduce delivery times.

The order books for the Chevy Caprice PPV first opened in December 2010, and the first 23 cars were delivered to US law enforcement departments in May 2011.

A total of 880 Caprice PPVs were registered in the US last year in eight months of deliveries. Chevrolet started 2012 in similar fashion, with 92 Aussie cop cars registered in the US in January.

The news follows last week’s confirmation from GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux that he is committed to the police car export program despite the challenging economic conditions.

Devereux said Holden had initial long-term goals of exporting as many as 17,500 Caprices to the US every year (albeit under significantly less trying economic circumstances), although he admitted it would struggle to reach five-figure sales while the Australian dollar remained high.




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