Ford finally retires the Crown Victoria
After more than 30 years, Ford has finally retired its Crown Victoria sedan, the last traditional rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered, body-on-frame American sedan. Best known through its Police Interceptor variant, which comprises more than 70% of America’s police fleets today, the Crown Victoria offers old domestic mainstays like a soft suspension, front bench seat, and steering column gear shifter. The Panther platform it’s built on dates back to 1979 and also lies under the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car, which are being retired as well.
Ford stopped consumer sales of the Crown Vic in 2008, but sales to police department and taxi fleets have remained strong. Ford has new police offerings in the works, based on the Taurus sedan and Explorer SUV, but many police departments believe the Crown Vic is still the best option and have driven up sales by stockpiling cars over the last few months. Yet the same sturdy, easy-to-repair body-on-frame construction that makes the Crown Vic the highway patrol’s car of choice also makes it heavy and inefficient (16 mpg city), which Ford can hardly afford in an era of increasingly tight fuel economy requirements (manufacturers must average 35.5 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025).
The Crown Vic was introduced for police duty in 1983 and became the dominant patrol car in 1996, when its main competitor, the Chevy Caprice, was discontinued. Today, Chevy has a new Caprice (based on an Australian Holden sedan) for the police, and Dodge offers a police-spec Charger sedan. Both are rear-wheel-drive, unlike Ford’s new police offering, the FWD/AWD Taurus. All offer better performance and fuel efficiency than the Crown Vic, but police fleets remain skeptical.
Despite its dominance in the police and taxi markets, the Crown Vic has seen its share of controversy in the last few years. Its vertically-mounted steel gas tank is located between the rear axle and trunk, making it susceptible to puncture in a rear crash and leading to strong and instantaneous fires. Ford faces dozens of lawsuits in the early 2000s following a number of deaths linked to the tank design. The carmaker eventually settled the cases and in 2003 began to install protecting the gas tank from rear-end puncture.
|Print article||This entry was posted by admin on August 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm, and is filed under Automotive. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
No comments yet.
No trackbacks yet.
As long suspected, Microsoft is discontinuing its dedicated Zune music players, instead focusing on the Zune music service that runs on Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox. Microsoft will continue to honor warranties on the Zune HD and other models. An update on the Zune site says, ”Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music More >
Major news in Cupertino this evening– Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple, citing health reasons. He will remain Chairman, while COO Tim Cook will take over CEO duty. The company’s press release states “Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable More >
Just a year after it bought Palm for $1.2 billion, HP has given up and is discontinuing all webOS phones and tablets, including the Pre and TouchPad devices. The strategic turnaround is mentioned in the “other announcements” section of a press release saying HP may spin off its whole Personal Systems Group (PCs, mobile More >
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Golden Gate City has lost its last domestic car dealer. Since San Francisco Ford Lincoln Mercury closed last week, the city lacks a single Ford/Lincoln, GM/Chevy/Buick/Cadillac, or Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer in its 47.6 square mile territory. The dealer’s original owner returned its franchise three years ago to Ford, which More >
Nokia’s new CEO Stephen Elop, formerly of Microsoft, just sent out a fairly devastating internal memo to all Nokia employees. It’s a brutally honest portrayal of the mess the company is in and an interesting example of how to kickstart a company that on the surface appears to be doing fine (positive growth, still the More >
In a shocking move, Bigfoot – the most famous monster truck – has switched from Ford to Chevy. After 35 years in the blue oval camp, the big truck now wears a Chevy Silverado-style skin and has a new GM engine. Apparently Ford stopped sponsoring the team in 2007, leaving Firestone as the primary sponsor. More >
Microsoft has killed its Kin social phone line just a few weeks after it launched. Gizmodo reports that the company has merged the whole Kin team into the Windows Phone 7 team. Rumors suggest that a mere 500 Kins have been sold to date, and while the figure’s probably higher than that, it might explain such More >