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Big three chase police for auto business

Aug. 25, 2010 at 2:26 PM

DETROIT, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Closing out production of Ford Motor Co.'s Crown Victoria police cruiser opens up a niche U.S. market to rivals, an industry adviser said.

Brian Moran, a former member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department who has worked with Ford and Chrysler LLC, said he thinks "the market share looks appealing to all three manufacturers," referring to Ford, Chrysler and General Motors Co.

Chrysler said its ambitions are to bump its share of the police car market from 18 percent to 40 percent, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

This week, Chrysler released photos of its Dodge Charger-based police car option, the Dodge Charger Pursuit.

Ford isn't abandoning the law enforcement market. When the Crown Victoria is retired next year, Ford plans to introduce a Taurus-based option, the Police Interceptor, and a new sport utility vehicle-based police car.

GM has plans to switch its police car production from a model based on the Impala to one with a Caprice design.

The police car market has been dominated by Ford for years. While it is a small market with sales of about 70,000 cars a year, it can be profitable given all the extra features police departments order.

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