Many police departments that joined a class-action lawsuit claiming Ford Crown Victoria police cruisers are unsafe have dropped out because it was the only way Ford would agree to continue selling them cars.

About 120 Illinois police agencies in Illinois have dropped their suits so far, says Jim Feeney, an attorney for Ford.

“The bottom line is either they are serious about the lawsuit and the claims in the lawsuit or they’re not,” says Feeney. “If you think the vehicle is unsafe – we don’t – but if you do, don’t expect us to supply you with vehicles.”

Ford instituted its policy of not selling vehicles to law enforcement agencies suing them in 2003. That was when the lawsuit became class action.

Many law enforcement officials say it would be too costly to switch to another company’s cars. But some agencies have started buying other manufacturers’ cruisers and remained part of the lawsuit against Ford.

A judge in St. Clair County, Ill., ruled in a class-action lawsuit in October that Ford Crown Victoria Interceptors are safe, although the decision could be appealed. It has not been ruled whether the automaker violated state consumer fraud laws.

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