TORRANCE, CA - Despite rumors to the contrary, General Motors will continue producing its existing Chevrolet Impala patrol car for law enforcement fleets in 2014 even though the automaker is introducing a redesigned non-police version of the Impala for customers.
Several law enforcement sources had told Government Fleet and POLICE magazines that dealers told them the Impala would no longer be available, a scenario a GM spokeswoman called "not correct."
Jacksonville Sheriffs' Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda said the department is now testing the Ford Police Interceptor sedan and Chevrolet Caprice PPV. Bujeda said the local General Motors dealer gave the agency the impression the vehicle would not be available after 2013.
"The GM dealer told us the Impala would be discontinued," Bujeda said. "We were told they weren't definite about whether they could continue offering the police package."
When contacted Monday, the automaker's law enforcement vehicles manager said its front-wheel drive patrol car will be offered only to fleets, including law enforcement, as the Chevrolet Impala Limited.
"Chevrolet will continue to make the current Chevrolet Impala for the 2014 model year exclusively for fleets, including law enforcement customers," GM's Dana Hammer wrote in an e-mail.
The Impala Limited would continue to be offered with the 3.6L, V-6 engine Chevrolet added to the 2012 model-year vehicle that provides additional horsepower and improved gas mileage over the 2011 edition, according to Hammer. The engine will also be offered in the retail 2014 Impala
The police Impala has been somewhat overshadowed by the crop of new patrol cars offered to police agencies, including the Ford P.I. and GM's own Caprice PPV, a rear-wheel drive sedan powered by a standard V-6 or optional V-8 engine.
In April, the automaker unveiled its full-size 2014 Chevrolet Impala sedan for the public at the New York Auto Show that offers a swankier interior, lane-departure alerts, and MyLink communication system. This Impala will be offered in LS, LT, and LTZ trim packages.
In addition to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the Impala patrol car has found favor with the New York Police Department, Philadelphia Police Department, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Police Department.
By Paul Clinton