Ford changing the police cruiser

Ford Police Interceptor

Ford recently unveiled a brand new car that will be dedicated to police services across North America. It is based on the 2010 Ford Taurus but, Ford says that the new Ford Police Interceptor will be 90% different from the consumer version Taurus, even the name is officially different (Police Interceptor).

This car will be available in late 2011 for police departments as the current police vehicle, the Ford Crown Victoria ends its run. The Crown Victoria has been in service since 1983 and has been relied upon by most police departments in the U.S. and Canada. However, Ford is not alone in this market so by changing the model altogether, it risks losing its spot as the market leader. Police departments have the choice of either the Chevrolet Impala or the Dodge Charger. The Chevy offering is a bit bland and older than the Charger, which is a formidable competitor. The problem with the Charger is not the car itself, but rather the company, Chrysler, which is in bad financial shape even relative to the other American auto makers might drive away business because police departments are looking for a long term partner and there is concern over Chrysler’s long term prospects as a viable company.

I think that if Ford prices the new Police Interceptor at a reasonable range (the current Crown Victoria police cruiser starts at $27,000) then it should maintain the top spot in this market. The Ford Police Interceptor is more dedicated to the police service than the Charger or Impala are and that should help sell it. It also has options such as a higher output engine choice and all-wheel drive, among other options that police officers will like.

For Ford, this is a major space to continue leading because it represents a large number of vehicles and it helps to attract additional fleet sales like taxi cab companies. Also, the negative publicity would hurt Ford if they lost this position to one of the competitors. Therefore, Ford better be sure that the new Police Interceptor is a sure bet for the police departments or the ramifications will be painful.