Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler have all taken a different approach to the police vehicle market that's mostly based on their prior experience and feedback from agencies on their respective advisory boards.
This year, Ford introduced a pursuit-rated hybrid sedan and F-150 to complement its current offerings, and GM discontinued its sedans to focus on the rising popularity of utility vehicles.
Let's take a closer look at FCA's strategy. But first, some history.
In early 2006, DaimlerChrysler released a new police version of its Dodge Charger that it had shown at the New York International Auto Show the prior year. It added heavy-duty brakes, a severe-duty coooling system, police-performance Electronic Stability Program, police-tuned steering, and a gear shifter mounted to the steering column. The sedan was renamed the Dodge Charger Pursuit in 2011 and added all-wheel drive in 2014.
Law enforcement agencies can purchse a V-6 or HEMI V-8 model with a pair of axle ratios for each if agencies want more low-end torque.
While Ford's Police Interceptor Utility became the top-selling police vehicle following the end of the Ford Crown Victoria P.I., in recent years the Charger Pursuit has closed the gap, especially with large agencies such as the California Highway Patrol.
FCA's Dodge Charger Pursuit enjoys strong demand due to its performance capabilities and overall value. FCA approaches updates for the vehicle with a strategy that emphasizes technology, handling, and officer safety. For 2018, FCA is offering its Officer Protection Package as standard equipment.
"This package is designed to minimize the possibility of an officer from being ambushed from the rear while parked," said Jeff Kommor, vice president of U.S. sales operations, fleet and small business sales. "While it does not replace vigilance, this technology acts as a second set of eyes and provides police officers with added peace of mind when they are working in a parked Charger Pursuit."
The system uses ParkSense, the vehicle's rear parking assist system, and ParkView, the backup camera, to trigger an alert chime. The instrument panel screen will display the rear-facing field of view. The agency can also set it up to initiate a signal for the doors to lock, front windows to roll up, and reverse lights to turn on and tail lights to flash.
The Charger Pursuit's aggressive styling also appeals to law enforcement officers, who say the vehicle in a violator's rear-view conveys business.
"We are clearly dedicated to keeping the Dodge Charger Pursuit at the top of the mountain when it comes to police sedans," said Frank Dankovich, director of FCA's fleet sales. "Our strategy of commitment to those who serve and protect has never been stronger."