Ford Motor Co., which controls about three-quarters of the U.S. market for police cars, will begin selling a law-enforcement version of its redesigned Explorer sport-utility vehicle late next year.
The Police Interceptor utility vehicle will join a new sedan being offered to law enforcement that’s based on the Taurus, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said today in a statement. The two models replace the Crown Victoria cruiser that now accounts for about 75 percent of the approximately 75,000 police cars sold in the U.S. each year. Ford said it will cease production of the Crown Victoria at the end of next year.
Ford’s new police cars will face a growing field of competitors. Chrysler Group LLC unveiled photos of its new Dodge Charger Pursuit police car Aug. 24, and General Motors Co. next year will introduce one based on its Chevrolet Caprice sedan. Carbon Motors Corp., a new company based in Connersville, Indiana, has said it will release a police car in 2013.
“This one is going to be a knife fight,” said Jim Hall, principal with consulting firm 2953 Analytics Inc. in Birmingham, Michigan. “When there’s no Crown Vic anymore, it will come down to a battle between the Chevy and Ford.”
The Police Interceptor SUV will offer optional doors that can withstand type-3 bullets, said Jim Holland, chief engineer for the Explorer. The vehicle also comes with standard front seats featuring “anti-stab plates” designed to prevent a knife from penetrating the seat-back, Holland said.
The Police Interceptor utility will come in two- or all- wheel drive and will be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that is 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the V8 in today’s Crown Victoria, Holland said.
Ford declined to give prices on either of the Police Interceptor models.
“We intend to maintain industry leadership,” Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, said at a media briefing Aug. 25. “Police departments want choice. Police officers these days have to carry a lot of gear. That’s why you’re seeing more utilities.”
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