This week, a Holden Australia designed and built patrol vehicle was to offered to law enforcement departments across the US and Canada. The so-called Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle or PPV is being promoted to join the ranks of law enforcement departments across North America who for years have been denied their preferred modern rear-drive platform with which to execute their duties.
The upcoming demise of the Ford Crown Victoria, which was past its use-by date five years ago has meant that law enforcement would be without a locally-produced car, with Ford failing to follow-up on the Crown Vic and the current stop-gap Dodge Charger patrol car not being big enough for the purpose of police duties.
The PPV comes from the same long wheelbase platform as the Holden Caprice and Statesman and the specially refettled law enforcement car will be available for ordering next year, and could be patrolling the streets from early 2011.
Chevrolet executives revealed the car at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Denver, Colorado on Monday which also featured a display by Australiaís National Safety Agency (NSA), which has developed state-of-the-art technology which can be integrated into law enforcement vehicles based on the Holden Commodore and Caprice.Holden Executive Director Sales and Marketing, John Elsworth, described the Chevrolet PPV launch as a first step which could lead to significant orders.
'[It] is the start of the process. Itís our ticket to the dance. Now we need to go out and really impress the judges,' Elsworth said.
'North American law enforcement fleets account for about 70,000 sales a year, so securing a fraction of those sales would be a major manufacturing boost for GMís operations in Australia,' added Elsworth.
'Opportunities like this donít come around very often. We are working hard to deliver a world class product worthy of serious consideration by the police.'
The Denver show is widely regarded within the North American law enforcement community as an opportunity to review future equipment and technology for purchase.
Given many large US police and emergency service departments make fleet purchases on an annual basis, the Caprice PPV will be considered in next yearís round of orders.
The Holden-built Chevrolet PPV will be available as a V6 with Spark Ignition Direct Injection or as a V8 with Active Fuel Management, both E85 (85% ethanol) capable.
Specialised equipment includes: Optional front-seat-only side curtain air bags allows a full-width rear-seat barrier for greater officer safety, and an additional boot-mounted battery dedicated to powering police equipment.
The cars will have sculpted front seats designed to ëpocketí the equipment belt and for the long-term comfort of officers whose car is their effective office. The long wheelbase, rear wheel drive car which for the first time in a full-sized US patrol car will have four-wheel independent suspension, will be promoted to police as a vehicle able to deliver responsive high-performance driving characteristics which Holden subtly says is crucial in 'some police scenarios.'
The new Gm PPV has an interior volume of 3,173 litres - more than the current staple Ford Crown Victoria, with 130 millimetres more rear legroom; and, at 510 litres, the Capriceís boot volume is large enough to accommodate a full-size spare tyre under a flat load surface. Additional, police car-specific powertrain and vehicle system features include: a high-output alternator, engine oil and transmission coolers, standard 18-inch steel wheels with bolt-on centre caps, large, four-wheel disc brakes with heavy-duty brake pads, heavy-duty suspension components, a police-calibrated stability control system, and a driver information centre in the instrument cluster with selectable speed tracking features.
Complementary features are also offered, including special equipment packages such as spotlights; lockouts for the power windows and locks; and an 'undercover' street-appearance package.
The NSA will demonstrate its technology at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention on a Pontiac G8, based on the shorter wheelbase Commodore product and will announce the launch of its own Australian made high-tech Police vehicle for the North American Law Enforcement market.
Also big fans of large rear-drive sedans are US and Canadian cab-drivers, who may have to hang on to their Crown Victorias and related Mercury Marquis and Lincon Town Cars a little longer. That's because if Holden wins the police contract as seems likely, it is unlikely to have sufficient capacity in the short term at least to be able to supply yellow Caprices as well as the black and white ones!