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Chevrolet Plans to Begin Taking Orders For The Caprice Police Cruiser

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On: Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 1:37PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chevrolet Plans to Begin Taking Orders For The Caprice Police Cruiser

Chevrolet dealers are preparing to take orders next month for the first rear-wheel drive police car that has been sold since the mid 90s. Chevy is promoting the Caprice for its rear-wheel drive and interior space (reportedly roomier than its predecessor—the Ford Crown Victoria).

The Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) was announced at the International Association of Police Chiefs in Colorado. The new 2011 Caprice is a revised version of the Australian Holden Caprice and Statesman models, which offer a bit more comfort and luxury, as well as a longer wheelbase version of the Holden Commodore and its U.S. model, the Pontiac G8, which is slotted to be discontinued.

The Chevrolet Caprice PPV is based on GM's Zeta RWD platform shared with the Commodore and Chevy Camaro. It uses a long wheelbase that measures 118.5 inches in length with a four-wheel independent suspension.

The Chevy Caprice PPV will be offered with a GM 6.0-liter V8 engine with fuel-saving Active Fuel Management technology and E85 capability, but next year's model will offer a V6 as well.

As far as power goes, the Caprice PPV's V8 puts out an estimated 355 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. Power is distributed through the six-speed automatic transmission which has been specially adjusted for police functions. GM reports that the Caprice V8 can travel from 0 to 60mph in under 6 seconds.

Other police duty-specific features include: 18-inch steel wheels with bolt-on center caps, larger four-wheel disc brakes, heavy-duty suspension components, police-calibrated stability control system and driver information center in the instrument cluster with selectable speed tracking feature, plus coolers to reduce the temperature of the engine oil and transmission and power steering fluids.

The Caprice PPV can also be ordered with special packages such as spotlights, lockouts for the power windows and locks, and a concealed street-appearance package.

According to GM’s general manager for commercial operations, "The new Chevrolet Caprice police car is the right tool at the right time for law enforcement, we asked for a lot of feedback from our police customers, which helped us develop a vehicle that is superior to the Crown Victoria in key areas."
A special “Detective Package,” which will come as an inconspicuous patrol cruiser with police graphics and light bar removed, will enable the PPV to become less noticeable on the road.

Assembly of the Caprice will take place at GM’s Holden subsidiary in Australia and the vehicle will then be shipped to California. After orders are processed, delivery is expected to take 14-16 weeks. The cars will have a five-year/100,000-mile warranty.

The Ford Crown Victoria has been the top selling police car since the discontinuation of the original Chevy Caprice. Many law enforcement agencies prefer rear-wheel drive for its better handling, particularly in high-speed pursuits.

Ford will discontinue the Crown Victoria next year opening up opportunities for Chevrolet and Dodge. Ford will replace the Crown Victoria with a heavy-duty version of the front-wheel drive Taurus. Dodge offers a law enforcement version of the Charger that is rear-wheel drive that will be available next year.

Joyce Mattman, GM's product director for fleet and commercial vehicles, said, “If you win the police business, there is a halo effect on the rest of the city and municipal fleet business for other cars and other trucks they buy. Often times, they have one dealership they want to work with for their entire city fleet.”
Notoriously sales for police cars go up in a good economy. In 2007, 60,000 police vehicles were sold. This year sales are projected to be around 45,000 units.

Despite the recession, there are still opportunities, Mattman said, “Departments have to replace cars so they can't take that number down to zero.”

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