Fleet sales are an important part of U.S. automakers' bottom lines, and none have more cachet or higher visibility than a contract with a law enforcement agency, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to producing a reliable source of revenue, being chosen by a high-profile police department is a badge of honor. Putting officers in their cars gives Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge an advertising boost.

"This is absolutely a good marketing opportunity for us," said Jonathan Honeycutt, marketing manager for Ford's police vehicles. "This is a division we want to be in."

Ford sold law enforcement agencies about 20,000 units of its Interceptor Utility, which is based on its popular Explorer sport utility vehicle, and 10,000 police-issue Taurus full-size sedans in 2014, Honeycutt said.

Bick Pratt, head of government fleet sales for Dodge, credits the law enforcement accounts with raising awareness of its muscular cars.

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