Crunch time for cop car
The moment of truth looms in a battle for big buck in the US, writes Stuart Martin
THE future of Commodore exports to the US will be clear this month when American police deliver their verdict.
Orders soon open for the law enforcement version of the long-wheelbase Caprice, which is being promoted by Chevrolet in the US.
General Motors believes there is a serious opportunity for the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle after a series of tests against its primary rivals from Ford and Chrysler.
‘‘Police departments around the country told us they needed a modern, high-performance, rear-drive pursuit car,’’ GM Fleet and Commercial Operations product director Joyce Mattman says.
‘‘These results are proof that the Caprice PPV delivers the performance officers want, without compromising safety or comfort.’’
But Holden must wait for orders for its Adelaide-built, luxury flagship.
GM Holden external communications director Emily Perry says the company is optimistic.
‘‘We’re still waiting for feedback from our US colleagues,’’ she says.
‘‘We would expect to open the order books and start taking orders next month and those vehicles could be made before the end of the year — so as soon as we have more news on that we look forward to sharing it.’’
The Caprice is believed to have performed well in trials and, although results from a Michigan State Police evaluation program will not be published until later this year, the company says the Caprice PPV hit 97km/h (60mph) and 161km/h (100mph) faster than its opposition, as well as recording a higher top speed and shorter stopping distances.
The Caprice PPV is powered by V8 and V6 engines (the V6 for 2012) and in the Michigan trials it ran against police specials from Dodge and Ford, though the Blue Oval hero is already headed for the history books.
Dodge is waving the Stars and Stripes with its Charger Pursuit, which boasts a 186kW/ 340Nm 3.6-litre V6 and 317kW/ 569Nm 5.7-litre Hemi V8 powerplants, rearwheel drive and two-mode police- specific electronic stability control. Ford’s once-dominant Crown Victoria Police Interceptor is being replaced towards the end of this year with a Taurus-based, all-wheel-drive police model, as well as an SUV Police Interceptor based on the new Explorer.
Ford’s Police Interceptor sedan will have a two-pronged V6 engine range — one a 196kW/338Nm 3.5-litre V6 engine, the other a new 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo direct-injection V6 producing more than 272kW and 475Nm to all four wheels.
While the Caprice program is picking up pace, Holden is recruiting an extra 50 production staff in Adelaide on 12-month contracts as the factory moves to two shifts.
The second shift is part of the plan to increase production of the compact Holden Cruze hatch from early 2011 — as well as boosting production of the VE Series II Commodore.
Awaiting orders: Holden’s Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle is believed to have performed well in tests.