In a recent posting on Green Cabs, I promised a follow up on the radical changes in American cities’ street scenes that are coming.
For more than three decades, the taxi market has been dominated by the “full-sized” Ford Crown Victoria, with its V8 engine, rear-wheel-drive and heavy-duty frame mounted underneath. Attesting to Crown Vics “bullet- proof” reliability reputation most of those in service are former police cruisers, disposed of by the cops when they felt their service life was over (or when the agency’s budget permitted).
Both taxi and police fleet managers are familiar with these cars and experienced in maintaining them. In one state where the attorney general banded together with plaintiff lawyers for an ill-fated attempted shakedown of Ford on alleged safety issues, the state police defied the AG. Indeed, when Crown Vic Police Interceptors have outlived their taxi second life, their reputation is such, according to a West Coast fleet administrator, that they may be exported to other countries for continued service in either taxi or police fleets.
I do not know about cars having nine lives, but three lives are certainly beyond expectations.
However, this is all coming to an end. Ford has announced that it will permanently close its St. Thomas, Ontario, assembly plant in September 2011, ending production of the Crown Vic (which has been sold only to police and taxi fleet sales for several years). This also means the demise as well as of the Mercury Grand Marquis favored by retirees and the Lincoln Town Car that forms the basis of most limo fleets and executive cars.