Ford Vehicles In Grandville, Michigan

Developing the Next-Generation Police Car

July 13th, 2011

The Ford Crown Vic is what most of us probably think of when we conjure up images of a police car. It’s pretty much the same for law enforcement, too. It’s Old Faithful for their industry, so you can understand why they might at first be a bit reluctant to change over to a new breed of transportation – they already knew what the Crown Vic was capable of and how it drove, and that it was reliable and durable. When you’re a cop on hot pursuit, those are not things you want to worry about.

Therefore, when it came time for Ford to develop the all-new, purpose-built Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicles, the project was put in the capable hands of a Ford team of engineers with backgrounds in racing.

“We utilized that knowledge to develop new parts and subsystems on the racetrack and in our test labs,” explained Ford Core Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, Louis Jamail. “Although a race car endures a lot of abuse, it only has to survive a weekend. Police vehicles are subjected to very challenging conditions for tens of thousands of miles.”

When it was announced that production of the Crown Victoria would end later this year, “police nationwide asked for a new kind of weapon in the battle for public safety,” said Mark Fields, Ford President of The Americas. So Ford engineers worked hand-in-hand with the Ford Police Advisory Board of law enforcement professionals, which provided input on key vehicle attributes such as safety, performance, driver comfort and functionality.

Throughout its development, the new Ford Police Interceptor was put through the ringer, undergoing a battery of torture tests to ensure its components would hold up to the rigorous driving styles of police professionals. “To get an unbiased comparison of our vehicles, we brought in a group of independent officers,” explained Vehicle Integration Engineer, Mike Interian. “Our team consults with them on many of the product decisions we make.” And Ford did a ground-breaking move as a result: No all-wheel-drive pursuit-rated vehicles existed yet in the industry until the Police Interceptor. Check out Real Cops Test Real Cop Cars for an interview of one of the officers.

Certification testing designed by the Michigan State Police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department evaluated the Police Interceptor in a variety of tests where the systems were pushed to the limits – far exceeding the demands most patrol cars ever experience. “We’ve enhanced the handling attributes of these front- and all-wheel-drive vehicles, so that the transition to them is easy,” Mike said. “The feedback we’re getting from our police advisors is that they are very pleased that they don’t have to retrain officers, that officers can get in these vehicles and drive them quickly from the start.”

“This vehicle is pursuit-ready,” said Carl Widmann, Vehicle Engineering Manager. “It’s no nonsense, through and through.”


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