Ford is seeing increased interest in its Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid, as orders of the standard hybrid version has increased to more than 20% of all its PIU units ordered to date. In September, the automaker reported that 17% of PIU orders were for the hybrid version.
“We went from a 17% overall mix back in September to a 22% cumulative mix since that time and we've seen months where we've been at 25% or more. In December, we saw a 31% mix of hybrid orders coming in. Customers are responding well to the hybrid and the benefits they receive from it,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager.
Ford has received 7,500 hybrid orders for the PIU out of a total of 37,000 orders, according to Tony Gratson, national government sales manager.
“Our best sales year for the Police Interceptor Utility, the previous model, was 34,000 [units], so this is fantastic. Great acceptance,” he added.
Additionally, more orders are expected to come in before the order banks close this Friday.
Which Areas Are Ordering Hybrids?
Orders for the hybrids are spread out nationwide, but there are higher concentrations on the East and West coasts, Tyler said.
Ron Anderson, state and local government sales manager, noted that hybrid sales in certain states are higher — including California and Massachusetts, where about 40% of PIU orders have been hybrids. It was the Massachusetts State Police’s commitment to the hybrid PIU and orders in the Boston area that pushed up the state’s hybrid mix, Anderson and Tyler said.
Ford has released a fuel savings calculator for the PIU hybrid, which some fleet managers have embraced to justify the hybrid version’s higher up-front cost. What’s keeping others from transitioning to hybrids?
“I think it's a matter of just being familiar with it, seeing what the benefits are, and learning about it and how capable the vehicle is. I think there's some hybrid anxiety out there where people are still unfamiliar with the technology,” Tyler said.
Anderson added that many police departments want to or are testing out the PIU Hybrid, and he expects sales of hybrid units to continue to increase. Tyler added that in addition to New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago transitioning to hybrids, many police agencies nationwide have made similar commitments.
Factory Closings & Their Effect on Deliveries
Ford assembly plants are closed due to the coronavirus, but Gratson said, “the vehicles that were built at the assembly plant are being delivered. They’re going through our mod center completing the assembly process and are getting shipped. That’s about 400 units, so we’re still delivering vehicles to dealers.”
He added that as of March 27, Ford does not have a schedule for the reopening of the Chicago assembly plant, where the PIU is assembled.
“Ford’s top priority is the health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders,” Gratson said.