Photo: Jeffrey Sauger/Chevrolet.

Photo: Jeffrey Sauger/Chevrolet.

DETROIT – General Motors provided Government Fleet with an update on the order-to-delivery times for its rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet Caprice PPV, acknowledging a longer order-to-delivery time than its other fleet vehicles.

The OTD time for the Caprice PPV is affected by the sedan’s production location of Adelaide, Elizabeth, Australia. Dana Hammer, GM's manager of law enforcement vehicles, acknowledged that it would take longer for the Caprice to reach agencies.

A typical order-to-delivery timeframe of a GM fleet vehicle would be about 110 days or just under four months. A vehicle built in Australia faces additional challenges to meet that timetable, including "dwell time"—the number of days a ready-to-ship vehicle sits at the port. Cargo ships leave Australia once a month with Chevy Caprice PPVs, so vehicles that miss the boat sit longer, Hammer said.

Several agencies, especially on the East Coast, have experienced longer wait times for the patrol version of the PPV, which went into production in April. The detective version was made available sooner, because it went into production in January of 2011.

In addition to GM building the vehicle in Australia, the vehicle goes through a second-stage manufacturing process once it reaches the Port of Benecia near Oakland, Calif. When the PPVs reach Northern California, a GM-hired automotive supplier adds police-specific equipment to the vehicles before they're delivered to agencies. The supplier installs spotlights and wiring harnesses. The supplier also modifies the rear passenger doors, disabling door handles so prisoners can't escape custody.

According to Hammer, GM has taken several steps to deal with the situation, including setting up a surplus inventory of PPVs at the Northern California port known as its E-Fleet. Agencies can acquire E-Fleet vehicles through an alternative ordering process offered by dealers.

The Caprice has caught on with fleet buyers, Hammer added, because it's "the right vehicle" for law enforcement. Of all the available patrol cars, the Caprice offers the largest interior and trunk, he said.

By Paul Clinton