Crunch time for cop car

The moment of truth looms in a bat­tle for big buck in the US, writes Stu­art Martin

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On Road -

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.

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