Deliveries of the first Chevy Caprice police cars to law enforcement agencies are underway, according to Automotive News. Quietly inserted into GM’s monthly sales release for May, the automaker reported that 23 fleet-only Caprice models were sold. According to Automotive News, these cars were the Detective versions, not the standard pursuit models. Although it’s unknown which agencies took delivery of these cars, we’ll no doubt see (or not see, in the case of the stealthy Detective model) more Caprices on patrol soon, as the current police favorite, the Ford Crown Victoria, is being discontinued this year.
Speaking to Automotive News, GM spokesman Tom Henderson said that the high-speed pursuit version, the Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle), would be shipped later this year. Henderson also said that the pursuit models will greatly outnumber the Detective models. The Detective version of the Caprice is an unmarked unit available with either a V-6 or a V-8. While it may look like a full-production model, this Caprice will only be available to law enforcement agencies.
Built on the same global rear-drive platform as the Camaro and the now-defunct Pontiac G8, the Caprice PPV was unveiled two years ago at the 2009 International Chiefs of Police Convention. Although the Caprice is assembled in Australia by GM’s Holden division, the cars are outfitted in California and will be sold by U.S. Chevy dealers. During the Michigan State Police Vehicle Evaluation competition earlier this year, the Caprice PPV proved to be one of the best performers, boasting the best 0 to 60 mph time thanks to its 6.0-liter V-8 producing 355 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. The cars it competed against were the Dodge Charger Pursuit and a prototype of the Taurus-based Ford Interceptor, both of which will begin entering fleets within the next year.
Automotive News reports that pre-recession police car sales averaged 65,000 to 70,000 units a year; this makes the courting of law enforcement agencies an attractive and lucrative prospect for automakers. With the aging Crown Victoria being put out to pasture, the offerings from Ford, GM and Chrysler each have a shot at becoming the new favorite for those in blue. Ford’s EcoBoost-powered Interceptor has already won favor with some police departments thanks to its improved fuel economy compared to other squad cars with V-8 engines; however, AN claims that police agencies generally prefer rear-wheel drive configurations, giving the Caprice a leg up over the front- or all-wheel-drive Ford Interceptor. We expect that the Caprice PPV will also replace GM’s current police offering, the front-wheel-drive Chevy Impala. Henderson would not reveal how many orders the company received for the Caprice, but said that June deliveries will be higher. We’ll be attentively watching this month’s sales figures, stay tuned.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)