Holden’s opportunity to export its Caprice model to police in the US is under threat as Ford’s American division plans a replacement for the popular Crown Victoria.
Chevrolet last month unveiled the Caprice PPV (Police Pursuit Vehicle) and announced that it would aim to sell the long wheel-base Australian as a police-only vehicle from early 2011.
But Ford – who currently builds around 75 per cent of all US police vehicles – is due to showcase its new Police Interceptor in the first quarter of 2010 before its launch at the end of 2011.
Ford’s Crown Victoria successor is widely tipped to be the new Taurus, which is currently the only car it makes with similar dimensions.
Ford claims the Police Interceptor has been under development for 14 months with input from its “police advisory board” and will be built in the US with improvements to fuel efficiency, quality and durability.
The outgoing Crown Victoria is powered by an 186kW/402Nm 4.6-litre V8 and is equipped with fire suppression technology and bullet-proof door panels.
Ford says it sells around 45,000 as police vehicles each year.
The 2010 Taurus SHO with the EcoBoost V6 puts out 272kW and 495Nm and seems the best fit from the current Ford stable.
The Caprice with the 6.0-litre Gen 4 V8 compares relatively closely with 260kW and 517Nm of torque.
With around 70,000 police vehicles sold in the US each year there is still an opportunity for Holden to export close 25,000 Caprices each year.
Both new vehicles will be considered by police departments and emergency services when orders are taken next year.
by Tim Beissmann