DETROIT – Much as consumer demand is shifting away from cars to trucks and SUVs, so has the law-enforcement vehicle market.
Ford saw the transition between 2012 and 2016, when its police vehicle sales changed from a majority of sedans to 75% utility vehicles, says Tony Gratson, national-government sales manager.
In 2012, when Ford replaced its aging Crown Victoria patrol car with two new police vehicles, the Taurus sedan and Explorer SUV, the Dearborn automaker sold 8,000 police sedans and 4,000 SUVs.
By 2016, Ford had sold more than 30,000 SUVs and just 10,000 sedans.
“People started migrating toward the (Police Interceptor) utility because it was easier to get in and out of, had more space and it drove more like a sedan,” Gratson says. “It became the vehicle of choice.” Gratson also says the Explorer all-wheel drive was a big factor for the change.
Ford’s latest addition to the police fleet, introduced at a media event here, is the first pursuit-rated pickup truck – the all-new ’18 Ford F-150 Police Responder.
The F-150 Police Responder is capable of speeds up to 100 mph. It features a powerful 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 mated to a Ford SelectShift 10-speed automatic transmission, with an all-wheel drive for all-terrain performance.
Ford claims 60% of the police-vehicle market.
“If you drill that down to pursuit-rated police vehicles, our market share actually approaches 70%, meaning seven out of 10 belong to Ford,” says Michele Bartlett, general manager-commercial government fleet sales at Ford.
Ford says it has the broadest lineup of law-enforcement vehicles in the industry.
“The police segment has always been a very important segment for us,” says Bartlett. “
The law-enforcement segment encountered a severe drop from 60,000 vehicles annually in the early 2000s to 40,000 vehicles during the recession. Ford says the segment is on a come-back.
“Last year, the industry ended at about 53,000 vehicles,” Gratson says. “This year, we might end at around 55,000 vehicles.”
The F-150 Police Responder goes on sale next spring.