Police Interceptor nabbing public safety vehicle attention

2012-10-02T18:00:00Z 2013-12-12T10:39:07Z Police Interceptor nabbing public safety vehicle attentionBy Bowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

CHICAGO | Customer feedback is convincing officials at Ford Motor Co. its Police Interceptor models are receiving a warm reception to an increasingly competitive market for public safety agency vehicles.

At a Tuesday ride-and-drive event in Chicago, Ford Police Interceptor Marketing Manager Lisa Teed said the vehicles provide an opportunity for the automaker to continue meeting the rigorous demands of police. Ford made presentations to media and set up a vehicle demonstration area and test track in the U.S. Cellular Field parking lot.

Ford has sold 6,079 Police Interceptor sedans and 4,148 Police Interceptor utility vehicles this year, according to data the company released Tuesday. Teed said the company has accepted 16,000 orders for vehicles from agencies in all 50 states.

"These products were built with a conviction and a purpose," Teed said. "I think they're being well embraced."

Teed and other Ford officials declined Tuesday to make sales projections for the Police Interceptor, but she said 2013 model year vehicle sales were off to a decent start.

Production of the vehicles at the Chicago Assembly Plant began in January. The sedan is built on the platform of the Ford Taurus and the utility vehicle is built on the Ford Explorer platform. The vehicles are aren't available for sale to the public.

Teed said the decision to add a utility police vehicle was based on input from customers, many of whom were attached to Crown Victoria Police Interceptor that Ford stopped producing in 2011 after a 20-year run.

Prior to producing the new vehicles, safety, durability and performance were among the chief considerations in design decisions, Teed said. She said the V6 engines in Police Interceptors help improve fuel economy and generate more horsepower than the eight-cylinder engine models in the Crown Victoria.

General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC are among the automakers that are working to capture market share among police vehicle segment including models based on the Chevrolet Impala and Dodge Charger.

In police vehicle testing done by the Michigan State Police last month, Ford said the Police Interceptor had the fastest single lap and best average lap times among competitors. One of the vehicles also had the best acceleration times in three different categories.

Marge Urnaza, fleet manager for Metro Ford in Chicago, said prices for the Police Interceptor vary depending on the needs of the police department and what equipment will have to be installed after it is assembled. Urnaza said she is working with the Chicago Police Department as it has ordered 10 Police Interceptor sedans that will required retrofits prior to being sent to the department.

Earlier this year, the Chicago Police Department said it would buy 500 Ford police vehicles over a period of five years.

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