Agencies such as the California Highway Patrol have made Ford's CVPI a staple of their fleets. Photo via The Brain Toad (Flickr.com).
By April 1, Ford Motor Co. will release details about the patrol car replacing the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, the company has announced.
The Dearborn automaker also confirmed the vehicle will be released in late 2011 and be based on the full-size platform that's the basis for the 2010 Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans, the Detroit Free Press reports.
While those vehicles are available in front-wheel and all-wheel drive, the company has not said whether the new patrol vehicle would offer rear-wheel drive, a feature officers have said gives the car much-needed stability during high-speed pursuits.
The new patrol vehicle will arrive in late 2011 at the same time Ford discontinues the CVPI that has dominated American law enforcement patrol, according to Ford.
"We have heard the repeated requests from the law enforcement community to continue uninterrupted support of the law enforcement community," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Ford is answering the call with the new Police Interceptor [that's] engineered and built in America."
Ford claims about 75 percent of the market, selling 45,000 of the 60,000 patrol cars sold each year. The vehicle was introduced in the early 1980s.
During the past 14 months, Ford has been incorporating feedback from its advisory board into the development of the new vehicle.
"Ford's commitment to the law enforcement community produced the Crown Victoria, the benchmark police vehicle," said Lt. Brian Moran, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's fleet manager and an advisory board member. "This commitment has continued, and Ford has been working closely with the Police Advisory Board on developing the new Police Interceptor. I am confident that the next-generation Ford police vehicle will meet the future needs of the law enforcement community and will set the new standard."
The announcement comes as Ford is facing increasing competition from rival automakers.
General Motors is re-introducing the Chevrolet Caprice patrol car in 2011, and Carbon Motors executives have said they've taken 12,000 pre-orders for its E7 clean-diesel patrol vehicle.
Also, Chrysler executives say they'd like to see their Dodge Charger reach 40 percent of the patrol-car market (up from 17 percent). In late October, the Dallas Police Department announced its officers would begin driving the vehicle, as the department begins shifting away from the Chevrolet Impala.