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Chrysler 300 signs up for police duty

Core model: A fleet of Chrysler 300 SRT Cores will be covered in NSW Police livery next year as highway patrol vehicles.

NSW Police to take delivery of a fleet of Chrysler 300 SRT Cores next year

Chrysler logo12 Dec 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

A FLEET of Chrysler 300s will report for duty as highway patrol vehicles for the New South Wales Police Force next year to replace the outgoing Holden Commodore and Ford Falcons that have largely made up the state’s pursuit fleet.

While Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia was quiet about the agreement, a source confirmed that it was a done deal, but was unaware if the car-maker has tendered for similar fleet contracts with other police agencies in other states and territories.

It is unclear how many 300s will hit NSW roads next year wearing police livery, but judging by previous police fleet deals, GoAuto believes it will exceed 100 units.

The variant that NSW Police looks set to take delivery of is the SRT Core that uses a 350kW/637Nm 6.4-litre V8 engine and sells in the private market from $65,000 plus on-road costs.

Chrysler is the latest manufacturer to successfully tender for police fleet business, with BMW announcing in September a deal to supply Victoria Police with up to 80 examples of its 530d turbo-diesel sedan to replace Commodore and Falcon pursuit cars next year.

Other car-makers believed to have pitched for police fleet business recently include Toyota, Holden, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Kia.

The Chrysler 300 police deal follows a recent report that suggested right-hand-drive production of the big American-built sedan had ceased.

The reports of the end of RHD Chrysler and Dodge production arose in South Africa where FCA South Africa CEO Robin van Rensburg was quoted as saying the Chrysler and Dodge brands were leaving that market permanently.

“This unfortunate situation has arisen from our principals in the USA no longer building Chrysler or Dodge vehicles in right-hand drive configuration,” he reportedly said.

Mr van Rensburg has since retracted his statement and FCA has confirmed that RHD Chrysler 300 production would continue on.

The 300 has recently lost a few rivals in the large and upper-large sedan segment following the closure of Holden’s factory in October resulting in the loss of the Australian-built Caprice and Commodore, as well as the demise of Ford’s Falcon last year.

However, FCA Australia president and CEO Steve Zanlunghi said that there was still a sales opportunity for big brawny V8-powered large cars Down Under.

“If you look at that segment, with the ceasing of local manufacturing, there are not too many big V8 sedans out there,” he told journalists at a launch event for the Jeep Compass in Melbourne this week. “So if you do it right and you can come to the market with something that is good and alluring and plays in that segment, you have got an opportunity.

“Australians have an insatiable appetite for V8s, they love it. And the fact that we don’t have laws here that restrict emissions or fuel economy or anything like that, it makes this a pretty ideal market to be selling these cars.”

The upper-large segment in which the 300 is categorised is now officially the smallest segment in the country, with a market share of just 0.1 per cent, equalling the share of large buses. This is a big slide from the 0.8 per cent it held back in 2007.

When stocks run out of the locally built Caprice, the 300 will be the sole offering in the sub-$100,000 segment, although a number of higher-end cars fit into the premium upper-large passenger car segment, including the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8.

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