Posts Tagged ‘Ford Crown Victoria’

Ford Police Interceptor Cuffs the Top Spot

Maker accounts for nearly half the sales in the segment.

by on Mar.24, 2014

Many might think the Los Angeles PD may have the best police car ever in this Lamborghini Gallardo, but the department uses it only for promotional purposes.

The demise of the large, rear-wheel drive sedan has forced police departments and other law enforcement agencies to experiment with other vehicles to replace the workhorses.

Chevy and Dodge have provided a variety of options to officers, including Chevy Tahoes, Caprices and even Camaros. Dodge converts the Charger into a police car and the Jeep Cherokee has also been used in the past.


One company, Carbon Motors, even showed departments across the U.S. a purpose-built police car. The company ordered 240,000 engines from BMW for the car, but by the end of last year, the enterprise was dead without one car delivered. (more…)

Ode to the Lead Sleds

The meter expires on America's favorite taxi.

by on Sep.06, 2011

King of the Road. The Crown Victoria was a favorite with cab fleets, especially in New York.

The latest sales numbers saw a steady increase in demand for small cars and crossovers but there were a few anomalies.  Based on the sales of the Ford Crown Victoria you might have thought it was the hottest new product on the market.  Anything but.  Long beyond its original life expectancy the Crown Vic – the Panther platform to Ford insiders – is finally headed for the automotive rust heap.

Within days, the last Panther will have rolled off the assembly line at Ford Motor Company’s St. Thomas, Ontario, assembly plant. Through the 27th of August, the plant had produced 60,376 Crown Victorias, 10,390 Lincoln Town Cars and 165 Mercury Grand Marquis since the first of January 2011.

Last week, the production count was 1,724 Crown Vic—all to fill police or taxi orders—and 280 Town Cars. Not bad for a dead, but not quite gone, and certainly venerable, automobile family.

Breaking News!

Never heard of the Panther? That was the code name that Ford Engineering and Product Planning folks assigned to the all-new “down-sized big car” that went on sale in the fall of 1978 as a 1979 model. In those days, Ford gave names such as Panther, Fox and Wyoming to all-new designs under development. No one could have predicted then that the basic Panther design would endure through thick and thin for 33 years.


Will Your Taxi Of The Future Be Yellow or Green?

Bye, bye Crown Victoria. Hello hybrids.

by on May.17, 2010

it's the end of the line for this traditional six-passenger American sedan.

In a recent posting on Green Cabs, I promised a follow up on the radical changes in American cities’ street scenes that are coming.

For more than three decades, the taxi market has been dominated by the “full-sized” Ford Crown Victoria, with its V8 engine, rear-wheel-drive and heavy-duty frame mounted underneath. Attesting to Crown Vics “bullet- proof” reliability reputation most of those in service are former police cruisers, disposed of by the cops when they felt their service life was over (or when the agency’s budget permitted).

Both taxi and police fleet managers are familiar with these cars and experienced in maintaining them. In one state where the attorney general banded together with plaintiff lawyers for an ill-fated attempted shakedown of Ford on alleged safety issues, the state police defied the AG. Indeed, when Crown Vic Police Interceptors have outlived their taxi second life, their reputation is such, according to a West Coast fleet administrator, that they may be exported to other countries for continued service in either taxi or police fleets.

I do not know about cars having nine lives, but three lives are certainly beyond expectations.

However, this is all coming to an end. Ford has announced that it will permanently close its St. Thomas, Ontario, assembly plant in September 2011, ending production of the Crown Vic (which has been sold only to police and taxi fleet sales for several years). This also means the demise as well as of the Mercury Grand Marquis favored by retirees and the Lincoln Town Car that forms the basis of most limo fleets and executive cars.


Green Taxi Fleets

Are hybrids about to take over the cab business?

by on May.14, 2010

Michigan Green Cabs has a dozen 2008 model year Toyota Prius hybrids in its fleet.

It’s no surprise that with “Green That” and “Green This” catching the public- and especially the media’s – fancy, that the concept of Green taxi cabs would not be far behind.

My attention was drawn to this a few months ago by sighting, within a few minutes, several different-make hybrid “Green Taxis” while visiting my daughter in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C. I spotted taxi versions of Ford Fusion, Toyota Prius and Camry, and Honda Accords – presumably all hybrids – according to their obvious “green” branding paint schemes.

Tracking down facts about them was a different matter. The loudest voice among hybrids because of Prius sales, Toyota, professed to have no fleet sales department and no overall knowledge of hybrid taxis.

It turned out that there was a green taxi fleet operating right under my nose in Oakland County, Michigan, for all practical purposes part of Motor City.

Indeed, from her volunteer work at a neighborhood hospital, my wife called my attention to a local Green taxi company summoned when visitors or discharged patients asked that a cab be called for them.

This is significant because the Beaumont Hospital System is the largest employer in Oakland County. With nearly 13,700 employees, Beaumont has been the county’s #1 employer since General Motors shut down its various manufacturing plants in and around Pontiac. Not even the Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills has more employees than the hospital.

It turned out that Michigan Green Cabs has a fleet of a dozen 2008 Toyota Prius cabs, according to general manager Ryan Tobias. In addition to Beaumont Hospital, the cab company also has contracted for taxi services with more than 20 suburban Detroit hotels, including the boutiquey Townsend Hotel in Birmingham favored by visiting Hollywood types and major league ball players.

Michigan Green Cabs rates ($2.50/mi up to 20 miles, $2.25 per over 20) work out to a significant savings over conventional cabs or limo companies. For example, the tab for going to Detroit Metro Airport from the Townsend in the greenie is $65 while a Town Car limo would set you back $85.

The company boasts that it is “saving the planet one ride at a time” and is “anything but your typical cab company.” Customers of Michigan Green Cab report high satisfaction with their rides, noting particularly that they are cleaner and newer than most cabs (no surprise since most Ford Crown Victoria cabs were police cars in their prior lives), and that the drivers are especially courteous, tributes to the cab company rather than the vehicle.

Veterans of the business, the Tobias family has been operating this particular enterprise since May 2008. They bought the cars from dealers “all over the country” with no special deal from Toyota. General Manager Tobias told me that he picked Prius for the cab fleet rather than a Camry Hybrid or Fusion Hybrid “because it was bigger on the inside.”

Technically, he was correct because that is how the SAE “recommended practice” for measuring interior dimensions makes it come out, with Prius passenger--cargo space amounting to 115.3 cubic feet and classification by the EPA as a “family” car, same as Camry and Fusion. The SAE-measured Prius cargo space comes to 21.6 cu. ft., more than the 20.7 of a Crown Vic, the most familiar cab in North America.

Realistically, though, Prius passenger space is cramped compared to a Crown Vic, the rear seat width, or shoulder room, being only 53 inches vs. the CV’s 60. Three big people can sit comfortably in the back seat of the “big Ford,” but would be, well, seven inches tighter in a Prius. Put another way, two couples wanting a comfortable taxi ride would have to summon two Priuses but only one Crown Vic.

Okay, so maybe a Prius is not the ideal green taxi. Indeed, Ford has been pushing its Escape Hybrid as the green cab of choice,

Of the nearly 13,400 cabs licensed by New York City at the beginning of 2010, an astounding 2,465 were Escape or Mariner Hybrids, versus 296 Camry Hybrids, 263 Altima Hybrids, 155 Highlander Hybrids, 75 Malibu Hybrids, 70 Prius, 6 Lexus RX 400H and a single Civic Hybrid. Of Crown Victoria cabs in NYC, there were 8,473.

The taxi scene in America’s big cities is going to change radically—and sooner than you might think. Look for a subsequent article on the coming changes in the nation’s taxi fleet.