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Holden’s Caprice PPV to cop column shifter

Six on the tree: A spy shot of a prototype Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle’s revised dashboard clearly shows a column-mounted gear selector.

Aussie-made US Chevy PPV cop car getting VF interior work-over, column gear-shift

Chevrolet logo14 Dec 2012

A STEERING column-mounted gear selector is among the changes being made to Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) that GM Holden builds in Australia for export to the United States.

The repositioned lever, which liberates space for crime-fighting equipment in the centre console, is part of a wider update that will bring the police car into line with the VF Commodore and US-bound Chevrolet SS Performance derivative, both of which will launch next year.

When the WM Caprice-based PPV was developed for the US, Holden attempted to overcome the lack of column-shifter by placing the standard centre console mounted lever 70mm to the left and creating extra space.

A spy shot of a prototype PPV’s steering wheel obtained by GoAuto clearly shows the new column-shifter plus a tantalising glimpse of an updated dashboard, which is understood to be shared with the standard wheelbase VF Commodore.

Also visible in the image are evidence of the mooted move upmarket for the next Commodore such as a deeply-cowled instrument pack with binnacle covered in perforated, double-stitched leather, an Opel-style steering wheel and curvy new air-vent design.

137 center imageFrom top: Chevrolet Caprice PPV Ford Interceptor.

Unlike the PPV, the VF Commodore, SS Performance and civilian Caprice will retain a standard centre console-mounted selector, but as reported, some variants will also have sporty paddle-shifters.

Holden external communications director Craig Cheetham confirmed to GoAuto that the revised Caprice PPV will get a column-shifter and take interior updates from the VF Commodore.

Program engineering manager for the PPV project, Steve Manson, said the jacked-up ride-height of PPV prototypes recently spotted in Victoria is probably because they are not loaded up with heavy police equipment, rather than having been modified to provide extra kerb-hopping ability during intense pursuit work.

GoAuto understands the exterior makeover applied to the VF Commodore will not be reflected on the Caprice, but that the long-wheelbase limousine will receive the VF’s technical and interior upgrades.

Sources suggest Holden also appears to be working on an updated Caprice for left-hand drive export markets such as the Middle East, with a leather-lined interior and video screens for rear passengers.

If the luxurious left-hook Caprice ends up being exported to the US, it could be used for official transport purposes such as high-ranking police officials, or even sold to civilians.

There have been reported cases of police-spec, V8-powered Chevrolet Caprices being sold by dealers to civilians in the US, where they were priced between $US31,000 and $US37,000 ($A29,487-$A35,151).

For comparison, in Australia the V8 Caprice costs from $69,990 plus on-road costs and V6 variants are offered from $61,990.

The US export deal has significantly boosted Caprice volume for Holden, as 3489 PPVs have been sold in the US to the end of November compared with 1359 Caprices in Australia.

General Motors’ decision to develop the PPV for export was aimed at capitalising on the opportunity presented by Ford’s announcement that it would discontinue the iconic, monopoly-holding Crown Victoria sedan.

The PPV helps GM tap into the market of around 70,000 vehicles purchased by US police departments annually.

Ford’s replacement for the Crown Vic is two-pronged, comprising the Taurus-based Interceptor Sedan and Explorer SUV-based Interceptor Utility.

Despite the Caprice PPV being around half the price of the Australian civilian version, it is more expensive in the US than the Taurus, its main competitor.

Ford has sold 7564 Interceptor Sedans and 5314 Interceptor Utilities to the end of November, while 3883 Crown Vics have been mopped up.

For comparison, 45,932 of the rear-drive, ladder chassis Crown Vic were sold in the same period last year.

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