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Holden’s US police car program in full swing

Arresting: Holden's Chevrolet Police Patrol Vehicle as it is featured on GM's special website.

Holden export orders to start soon for US detective and heavy-duty patrol cars

16 Jul 2010

HOLDEN’S development program of police vehicles for export to the United States is nearing completion, with the first orders of the Statesman-based patrol cars and specialist unmarked detective vehicles coming soon and production due to start in the final quarter.

Marketing of the 2011 Chevrolet Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) is now in full swing in the US, with the Australian-built sedan on the approved order list for North American law enforcement agencies and full details now available through GM’s commercial and fleet department.

GM has expanded the specific website it has developed for the Chevy PPV, now providing comprehensive details including the approved technical manual for the vehicle showing two versions that have been initially developed: the regular PPV and an unmarked detective version.

Presented in the technical manual with all-black paintwork and bodywork, save for a chrome grille surround and Chevrolet badge, the emergence of the detective car has heightened speculation that a proposed civilian version will be produced for sale to the general public.

While Holden is now looking forward to a substantial boost in production once the tendering process gets underway in the US and PPV orders start rolling in, the Australian manufacturer is downplaying the prospect of a civilian program running alongside.

137 center imageLeft: Chevrolet Caprice Detective Police Package. Below: Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle.

Senior product communications manager Jonathan Rose has told GoAuto that dealers in the US commonly manage large fleet orders, and that this role, combined with Holden developing an unmarked version of the PPV, does not indicate that a civilian car is also in the works.

“GM has released vehicle specifications to provide their dealers with the necessary technical information about the vehicle ahead of the tendering period in the US,” he said.

“Each law enforcement department has its own tendering process which will determine if they want to take the vehicle. We won’t be (starting production) until GM receives orders for the first vehicles later in the year.

“There are no plans to introduce the Caprice to the US as a civilian vehicle. As it stands, it is scheduled to be a police car only.

“GM has identified that two variants as necessary for police – one that can be used for unmarked purposes and one which is used for daily heavy-duty patrol work – and Holden will manufacture both of those.”

Mr Rose confirmed that the PPV marketing campaign was well underway in the US and that Holden had directed a significant amount of resources and input from design, engineering and manufacturing staff into developing the vehicles.

“The program has been a significant priority for the business at Holden,” he said.

“We haven’t confirmed volumes at this stage, but we know that the North American law enforcement market equates to about 70,000 new vehicles per year, so capturing even a fraction of that market will be significant for Holden.

“Production and shipping dates are to be confirmed. The first step in the process is to showcase the car to the North American market, and at that point we hope to start receiving orders.

“Subject to orders, early production for the police car program is expected to take place towards the end of the year.”

Both PPV versions use the same basic mechanical package, including the familiar Gen IV 6.0-litre V8 petrol engine with Active Fuel Management cylinder-deactivation technology and E85 ethanol compatibility, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The engine has a ‘wide open throttle’ feature which automatically cuts off the air-conditioning in high-speed situations, although the technical manual makes the point that overall performance may be reduced when overhead lamps, spotlamps, radio antennas, sirens and other emergency equipment are installed.

Holden has also engineered a higher-grade electrical system to cope with the unique police application.

Both models are fitted standard with a ‘police performance mode’ that deactivates systems such as traction control. Other features include heavy-duty disc brakes, ABS with ‘police calibration’, heavy-duty 18-inch steel wheels, a ‘trap-speed’ feature which records and stores the vehicle’s speed (via steering wheel controls) when following another vehicle, and a ‘stealth mode’ which suppresses audible sounds and lights when the remote central locking keypad is used.

Options include a remote-start feature, heavy-duty vinyl floor coverings and seats, and a flasher system for the headlamps and tail-lights.

GM is offering the PPVs with a three-year/ 36,000-mile ‘bumper-to-bumper limited warranty’ and a limited five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The American auto giant is competing with a number of rival manufacturers in the lucrative police car market, including Ford’s with its forthcoming Taurus-based Police Interceptor – a replacement for the current top-selling Crown Victoria, due late next year – and Carbon Motors’ with its dedicated E7 law enforcement vehicle, which enters production in 2012 and will be powered by a BMW-sourced 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

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