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DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group, in pursuit of Ford Motor Co.’s massive share of police vehicle sales, plans to re-enter the market with the new Dodge Magnum wagon powered by the popular Hemi engine.

Chrysler plans to build a 2005 Dodge Magnum SXT specially outfitted for police use this fall and then offer a 2006 Magnum police package, with an optional Hemi engine, next year.

The new vehicles will be the first rear-drive, V-8-powered competition to the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor since the mid-1990s. The Crown Victoria holds 85 percent of the U.S. police vehicle market, which generates annual sales of 60,000 units.

“We are going to offer a package that will be the most powerful police vehicle available,” said Ray Fisher, Chrysler’s vice president of fleet sales.

“When a police officer is in a pursuit, they want to run down anyone on the road. The Hemi gives them the best chance to do that.”

With horsepower back in vogue, the Hemi has become a hot seller and Chrysler has plans to offer it across the Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands.

“We can’t get the Hemi-powered Magnums in fast enough,” said Russ Maisano, general manager of Sterling Heights Dodge. “People love them. It’s a great engine.”

Chrysler believes the Magnum’s electronic stability control and storage space — big enough for a dog cage — also will be selling points for law enforcement agencies. Pricing will be released later.

The Plymouth Grand Fury and other Chrysler cars controlled 45 to 60 percent of the U.S. police vehicle market in the 1960s. Later, the Dodge Aries, Diplomat and Jeep Cherokee were marketed to law enforcement agencies. Most recently, Chrysler offered a police package on the Dodge Intrepid sedan, which is no longer in production.

With the economy improving, Fisher said the Magnum is entering the market just as municipalities are looking to buy vehicles. It also debuts as Crown Victoria police cruisers are the subject of numerous complaints and lawsuits stemming from rear-end collisions that sparked vehicle fires.

Ford Police Vehicle Specialist Michael Blackmer remains confident the Crown Victoria will remain the dominant police vehicle.

“The Hemi engine will be attractive, but no one knows what that will cost,” he said. “But (the Magnum) is slightly smaller and I don’t think police will like the open rear.”



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Michael Blackmer may want to watch his back soon. Several agencies around the nation are looking everywhere for vialbe replacments for the Vic, and due to more bad press on fuel tank explosions due to inadequate design, and Ford's refusal offer a modified design on the interceptor package, the magnum may very well take Ford's coveted spot away in the police car market.

I expect the Louisiana State Police to have a few of these, they are already running down speeders in Dodge Durangos and Impalas and the Magnum is a better fit for that mold. I see the Crown Vic being scaled out soon from police forces if the competition increases in the market.
 

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Can this be true? Ford refused to modify the Crown Vic for Police Interceptor sales? Police are the only ones who buy the lethargic Crown Vic and Ford is crazy if they don't do everything they can to maintain the few sales they can find for the market. If Ford loses Interceptor sales then the lethargic Crown Vic is as good as dead. No one else in their right mind would buy one.
 

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Excellent Dodge rendering for police. A true homerun.

In Ford's defense, these Crown Vics were not hit at 25mph and exploding. These cars were hit at speeds in excess of 60 miles an hour. Having owned one of the products myself, the fuel tank is far away from the rear bumper and only EXCESSIVE impacts would cause problems...and in other cars, would have resulted from a degradation far quicker than in the Fords. What has happened here is rear drive phobia....that because of the era when this vehicle was designed, the tanks were behind the axle, not under the floorboard and rear seats like today's puddle jumpers have it located. The design is not flawed in as much it has not progressed. Perhaps Ford could have redesigned the whole floor panel area for all vehicles, but the vehicle is not inherently flawed....hundreds of thousands of these cars in civilian form are on the road with nary a whimper of the explosions noted by police cars....who typically park their rear ends toward the road to protect the officer from being broadsided by passing traffic. The very practice of how the cars are placed at traffic stops CONTRIBUTES to the very problem the police departments are whining about. Mind you, these same departments who are complaining CONTINUE to purchase these vehicles. Yeah, sure, they can opt for a wimpy Impala in the present market, but these departments have made conscious decisions that have placed their patrol officers in jeopardy KNOWING the vehicle they are driving.

My observations on police tactics are from my observations of the twits here in Virginia who park their rear ends toward the road to shield the officer thereby increasing the likelihood of rear impact in a very unsafe angle. Other states may do it differently, but in casual observations when visiting other states, I'm not so sure that this practice is confined to Virginia.
 

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Interesting. I had heard that they were developing a police package Charger (4-door sedan version of the Magnum), and were going to offer it as soon as it was introduced. I guess they decided not to wait.

I would think that the Charger would be a better deal, as you get a little more isolation from the perps in the back seat - no trunk on the Magnum, obviously.

Still, this is a home run for DCX. That's one mean-loking cruiser.
 

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Look out Ford (and GM)!
 

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Originally posted by Jay@Jun 25 2004, 08:50 AM
Can this be true?  Ford refused to modify the Crown Vic for Police Interceptor sales?  Police are the only ones who buy the lethargic Crown Vic and Ford is crazy if they don't do everything they can to maintain the few sales they can find for the market.  If Ford loses Interceptor sales then the lethargic Crown Vic is as good as dead.  No one else in their right mind would buy one.
It is basically true. It is true Police forces use their cars in a way that most convential motorists will not, thus putting themselves at risk. However several Police mechanics have made their own shields and what not that protects from the tanks.

One man in Houston I belive found a combination of the location and the bolts on the frame were causing the problems. He devised a shield, replace the bolts with those flat head type and changed some brackets. I believe he even contacted Ford to show them this is what needs to be done and they snubbed him.

Basically cops use their cars in a way that puts them at risk. Ford has denied any wrong doing engineering wise on the car which they have a right to do. However the problem has been presented to them, and a cheap solution that works has also been shown to them, and they refuse to implement it into their interceptor package.

If your are going to produce a police package that has problems and then people start dying as a result of its use, and then a 3rd party finds out how to fix it, why not take that persons advice, implement the changes to save future lives?

Thats basically what Ford has done. They have said we dont have a problem, and its the police tactics that are the problem. I say if you willingly sell a particular package to police organizations and you know they use the vehicle in such a way, include the modifcication for safety in all police packages. Simple enough dont you say?
 

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The key will be the price. They have a car with a lot of Mercedes pieces underneath competing with a basically 25 year old car that's got a simple design and long-paid-for tooling. I know which car officers would prefer, but it's the department budget people that buy the cars. If they can get 5 Ford Interceptors for the same price as 4 Magnums, the choice may not be so clear.
 

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Oh great, not only do I have to know the back of my hand the front lights of Crown Vics, Impalas, and the Intrepid here in Durham, but now I'm going to have to know the Magnum lights too. lol. I think I'm going to have to stop speeing ;)

Nice looking cruiser for sure. If Ford wants to keep up, they might have to bump the power in the Vic up. And question, what the Hemi's like on fuel in the real world? EPA ratings don't mean a lot to me. Anyone know roughly the fuel mileage on the Hemi's?
 

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Does anyone think Cops's egos can survive while driving a fugly station wagon? Whats the manueverability on that boat?
 

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Originally posted by MelvinJ@Jun 25 2004, 02:54 PM
The key will be the price. They have a car with a lot of Mercedes pieces underneath competing with a basically 25 year old car that's got a simple design and long-paid-for tooling. I know which car officers would prefer, but it's the department budget people that buy the cars. If they can get 5 Ford Interceptors for the same price as 4 Magnums, the choice may not be so clear.
That will be a huge factor since Ford could easily undercut th Magnum since it's by far the most profitable car made by Ford. The last report I read was that Ford makes almost $7000 on each Crown Vic sold which is remarkable. I imagine they don't even make that on their most expensive SUV's.
 

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Originally posted by SilverZ@Jun 25 2004, 11:56 PM
Does anyone think Cops's egos can survive while driving a fugly station wagon? Whats the manueverability on that boat?
That "fugly" Hemi station wagon makes the Crown Vic look like a Grandma's car.





Oh wait it already was.
 

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I just saw where the Interceptor goes for $24K. Figure with fleet discounts and options, the cars are probably being sold for $23-24K.

The cheapest Hemi Magnum goes for what, $30K? Add in the cost of extra police equipment and take away the fleet discount, and I still see at least a $5-6k difference. They'll sell a few, maybe like the old Z28/Mustang 5.0 pursuit cars, but I don't see it becoming too popular when most municipal budgets are stretched to the limit.
 

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I think it will sell about the same as the Camaro police cars, probally less, 30k is expensive, police are looking for low cost vehciles like the Crown Vic and Impala
 

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Here's an equally likely answer. The 2006 Charger, I've seen preview shots of it, is essentially a Dodge version of the 300 sedan. Does that put the situation into perspective?

I'd add that I frequently see Intrepid cruisers around here. Newport News and York County both use them, marked and unmarked.
 

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I will weigh in on this. I could be wrong, but it is best not to underestimate anything from DCX - Mercedes through Jeep. Juergen Schrempp said "Expect the unexpected" from DCX. Meaning, the Hemi Magnum may price at $29,000 to $30,000, but don't be surprised to see them selling a police version in the neighborhood of the Crown Victoria police car. It will probably be a little higher in price, but then, the DCX sales staff will promote the Hemi, more room, better safety, better quality, and a host of other items to get police forces to switch. Meanwhile, Ford will sit on its hands and falsely believe the Crown Vic will always stay the number 1 cruiser and GM will sit on the sidelines looking in. Never underestimate the Germans' abilities to make the American execs look stupid. The Japanese have been doing it over a decade, and now the Germans have entered the arena.
 

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Originally posted by AJR@Jun 26 2004, 11:46 PM
I will weigh in on this. I could be wrong, but it is best not to underestimate anything from DCX - Mercedes through Jeep. Juergen Schrempp said "Expect the unexpected" from DCX. Meaning, the Hemi Magnum may price at $29,000 to $30,000, but don't be surprised to see them selling a police version in the neighborhood of the Crown Victoria police car. It will probably be a little higher in price, but then, the DCX sales staff will promote the Hemi, more room, better safety, better quality, and a host of other items to get police forces to switch. Meanwhile, Ford will sit on its hands and falsely believe the Crown Vic will always stay the number 1 cruiser and GM will sit on the sidelines looking in. Never underestimate the Germans' abilities to make the American execs look stupid. The Japanese have been doing it over a decade, and now the Germans have entered the arena.
Well, if they want to give them away, that's certainly one way to get police departments to accept them. I just don't know their motivation for going after them that hard. What's the plant capacity on these cars? Aren't they selling beyond projections now? Why would they take up plant capacity for slim-margin fleet sales when they could be selling retail units?
 

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Originally posted by MelvinJ+Jun 27 2004, 12:01 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MelvinJ @ Jun 27 2004, 12:01 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-AJR@Jun 26 2004, 11:46 PM
I will weigh in on this.  I could be wrong, but it is best not to underestimate anything from DCX - Mercedes through Jeep.  Juergen Schrempp said "Expect the unexpected" from DCX.  Meaning, the Hemi Magnum may price at $29,000 to $30,000, but don't be surprised to see them selling a police version in the neighborhood of the Crown Victoria police car.  It will probably be a little higher in price, but then, the DCX sales staff will promote the Hemi, more room, better safety, better quality, and a host of other items to get police forces to switch.  Meanwhile, Ford will sit on its hands and falsely believe the Crown Vic will always stay the number 1 cruiser and GM will sit on the sidelines looking in.  Never underestimate the Germans' abilities to make the American execs look stupid.  The Japanese have been doing it over a decade, and now the Germans have entered the arena.
Well, if they want to give them away, that's certainly one way to get police departments to accept them. I just don't know their motivation for going after them that hard. What's the plant capacity on these cars? Aren't they selling beyond projections now? Why would they take up plant capacity for slim-margin fleet sales when they could be selling retail units? [/b][/quote]
They could have several factors for motivation. These are just some ideas I have. They may be true, may be not.

1) The rebirth of Chrysler. A few years after Daimler took over Chrysler and replaced the Americans with 2 Mercedes execs, these execs held a meeting with the then angry and distraught Chrysler employees. These guys promised to bring Chrysler back to number 1. They promised that under Daimler's control, Chrysler was going to become a force to be reckoned with like its glory years. Chrysler used to own the Police sector with the old Dodge Monoco, Plymouth Fury, and even the Dodge Diplomat. Chrysler has not been in that arena in a while, so what better way to build optimism and pride than for Chrysler to recapture a market it owned for so long. I think it is an ego thing.

2) No acceptable police/fleet vehicles being sold in the U.S. My guess is that the Daimler folks see an opportunity to give America "high quality" police and fleet vehicles. Even though Mercedes cars are used in Germany as taxis and other items, they don't want Mercedes to be used like that in this country. Being that Daimler wants to control everything (it is also the world's largest truck seller), they feel a need to "get in on the action" in this section of the American market. Since Mercedes can't do it, why not Chrysler? I really think Daimler sees the Crown Vic and Impala as poor excuses as police vehicles and they think they have the formula to do it right. The people in Auburn Hills have bought into it, as they see this as Chrysler's chance to take back what is theirs, so they start pummeling the Crown Vic and Impala in the marketplace.

3) Chrysler wants to prove itself to the market. Not only is it making Hemis and such, but now it can join the fleet arena and be one of the big boys. Chrysler no longer wants to sit on the side and watch Ford and GM meander along in it.

4) Attitude - of which DCX has plenty of. If people have read the press releases of the Dodge Power Wagon and the SRT-10 club cab, you would see that DCX not only intends to beat the competition, it wants to "decimate" it.

5) Because police forces have been begging Chrysler to give them a police packaged Intrepid for ages. Apparently, they want the Magnum more than ever. They want out of the Crown Vics and Camaros.

As for money, I wouldn't worry. Duetsche Bank is keeping them healthy. Plus, they are getting $1 billion from selling 10% of Hyundai, slowly letting go of Mitsubishi, and selling Chrysler assets.

As for overcapacity, that is a good question. Don't count that as a strike against them, however. They have found more ways to turn negatives into positives.
 
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