There are many zombies wandering the automotive world right now; cars that continue to be sold only to fleet customers, or as part of dying brands. But the great grandfather of zombie cars is no doubt the archaic Crown Victoria. Based on the Panther platform, which first debuted in 1979, it represents a huge chunk of police cruisers and taxi cabs across the country. But in 2011, the last Panther will roll off the St. Thomas assembly lines.

Ford has announced that without interruption an all-new Police Interceptor will be offered for fleet sales in late 2011.

The timing comes soon after GM’s announcement that the cops will be getting an Aussie-built Caprice of their own in 2011. Details on Ford’s Police Interceptor are scarce right now, though we can expect to hear more in the first quarter of 2010. The car is being developed specifically for police officers, in conjunction with Ford’s Police Advisory Board. They have spent 14 months collecting data and listening to what police want and need from their cars.

So what could it be? Ford has reportedly been touting the Taurus to interested officers, although a big draw of Crown Victoria was its cheap price and ease of repair due to its body-on-frame construction. While the Taurus is of similar weight and size, and the EcoBoost provides over 350 horsepower, it also costs about $37,000. More likely, Ford will take the same road as GM and import one of its Aussie sedans like the Falcon. Mad Max drove a Falcon Interceptor after all, and Ford makes a turbocharged V6 version already. Ford currently delivers three quarters of the 60,000 police vehicles sold annually in the U.S., so it isn’t going to give that share up without a fight. What a fight it promises to be though.




* Ford confirms development plans of an all-new Ford Police Interceptor and affirms continued commitment to the police and municipal vehicle businesses

* New Police Interceptor's durability, safety and performance will exceed the existing Crown Victoria's law enforcement vehicle lineup

* Ford is the market leader in the law enforcement vehicle segment, selling 45,000 of the 60,000 police vehicles sold in each year in the U.S.

Dearborn, Mich., Nov. 13, 2009 – Ford Motor Company announced today it will produce an all-new purpose-built Police Interceptor specially designed and engineered to replace the Ford Crown Victoria law enforcement vehicle lineup in 2011.

The new Ford Police Interceptor is being developed in conjunction with Ford's Police Advisory Board, which provided input during the past 14 months on key vehicle attributes, such as safety, performance, durability, driver convenience and comfort. The new Police Interceptor will be offered without interruption when production of the Ford Crown Victoria ends in late 2011.

"We have heard the repeated requests from the law enforcement community to continue uninterrupted support of the law enforcement community," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Ford is answering the call with the new Police Interceptor – engineered and built in America."

Ford – which currently controls approximately 75 percent of the police pursuit vehicle business in the U.S. – has invested significantly in designing the purpose-built new police and municipal vehicles to meet the needs of these crucial customers.

The new Police Interceptor is designed to provide municipalities with reduced ownership costs through improved fuel efficiency, quality and the kind of durability police departments nationwide have come to expect from Ford.

"Ford's commitment to the law enforcement community produced the Crown Victoria, the benchmark police vehicle," said Lt. Brian Moran, fleet manager, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a member of Ford's Police Advisory Board. "This commitment has continued, and Ford has been working closely with the Police Advisory Board on developing the new Police Interceptor. I am confident that the next-generation Ford police vehicle will meet the future needs of the law enforcement community and will set the new standard."

Ford plans to reveal the new model and provide full vehicle specifications in the first quarter of 2010 – in time for law enforcement agencies, police equipment manufacturers and upfitters to develop a transition plan from the Crown Victoria to the new product.

Each year, Ford sells approximately 45,000 police vehicles, making the Blue Oval the nation's largest provider of police and municipal vehicles.

"Ford long has supported our public servants with vehicles that work as hard as they do," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service. "We intend to build on this legacy with a new generation of municipal and police vehicles that set even higher standards."

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