GM Holden’s Melanie Kerin acknowledged the first Caprice sales in the US marked a milestone for Holden, but insisted the modest May numbers were just the beginning.
“It’s an on-going process,” she said. “There is quite a lead-time on the boats, and then the vehicles go through the retrofit process in the States.“We will gradually see the number increase.”
Ms Kerin said the vehicles delivered in May were produced at GM Holden’s Vehicle Operations plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, in late February. All 23 vehicles were finished in Caprice PPV ‘Detective’ specification, which is the unmarked police car designation.
She said a second fleet of vehicles – this time the Caprice PPV Patrol model – was shipped out of Australia around Easter (late April). Those vehicles are scheduled for delivery to police agencies in mid to late June.
Neither Holden nor Chevrolet will comment on the number of vehicles on boats or provide any information about order volume.
The Caprice PPV Patrol (codenamed 9C1) will be significantly more popular than the unmarked Detective variant (9C3). The Caprice is only available for law enforcement agencies to purchase, not the general public, which means anyone who recognises an unmarked Caprice will be able to identify it as a police car.
The Chevrolet Caprice is currently offered with only the 6.0-litre V8 engine. A V6-powered variant will go on sale in the US in the future, although Ms Kerin said she had no information about the timing of that vehicle at this stage.
US law enforcement agencies generally purchase between 65,000 to 70,000 new vehicles each year, making the market a highly lucrative one for exporters like Holden.