The police car market in the United States amounts to around 75,000 units a year, and Ford’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, CVPI, the mainstay of police fleets for years, has managed to command 60% or more of that market since Chevrolet ended domestic rear-wheel drive car production in Texas 15 years ago.
Dodge has been nibbling away in the market for the last five years with a smaller, less costly and perhaps more fuel-thrifty Charger V8 entry, while Chevy has had fair luck with its also smaller V6 Impala.
The CVPI has been a holdout of what some critics call dated design – a rear-wheel-drive V8 with the body bolted to a separate frame.
This year, knowing that CVPI production ends in another 12 months, Ford, Chevy and Dodge are each scrambling for this market niche, a scramble that doesn’t make any obvious financial sense in a town where money is tight, but could make sense from an image point of view. But let’s put the money angle aside for the moment, and come back to image later.
Ford is defending its turf for 2012 with an extensive battle-proofing makeover of the front-drive V6 Taurus sedan, called the Ford Police Interceptor. With Crown Vic sedans limited the last few years to taxi and police customers, Taurus has become the top of the Ford passenger car line, what people might consider a near-luxury car.