Several law enforcement agencies that annually purchase Ford Motor Co.'s Crown Victoria Police Interceptor have been told the automaker may introduce a police version of its Taurus sedan for use as a patrol vehicle in late 2011, when the "Crown Vic" will no longer be produced, according to several reports.

Agencies worry about finding a suitable replacement for the patrol car that has served as the backbone of many agency's motorized patrol operations, the Kalamazoo Gazette reports. Agencies may need to shoulder the cost of replacing equipment that fits the CVPI.

Also, the vehicle was the only police vehicle until 2006 with rear-wheel drive, which led to its widespread adoption.

Ford has an 85 percent share of the market for police vehicles, according to a report in the Detroit News. The remaining share is divided between Chevrolet's Impala and Tahoe models and Dodge's police-rated Charger.

Police like the Crown Vic because of its body-on-frame construction that adds durability, column shifter to provide more room between the seats for weapons and gear, roomy interior and rear-wheel drive.

In June, officers with purchasing influence were brought to Dearborn to meet with Ford's fleet division about the future of patrol cars. They were brought to the test track and shown the new Taurus sedan, which is faster, safer and gets better mileage, but lacks some of the features that have made the Crown Vic popular with police.

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