It's not a car for the faint of heart. The Police Interceptor has anti-stab plates built into the front seats to protect occupants from attacks, vinyl rear seats and floors that can be hosed down and available bulletproof doors. It's built to withstand a 75-mile-per-hour (120-kilometer-per-hour) rear crash.
Ford, which sells 70 percent of all U.S. police cars, wants to retain its 15-year dominance in the market, which sees average sales of 50,000 vehicles per year.
"We don't take our leadership role lightly," Ford Americas President Mark Fields told a police gathering in Las Vegas, and media watching by satellite from the company's Dearborn headquarters. He said Ford has been developing the new squad car for two years with help from a police advisory panel.
Competition is growing. Chrysler's Dodge Charger-based police car grabbed 18 percent of sales last year, up from 14 percent in 2007. In reports to the California Police Chiefs Association, some officers preferred the aggressive looks, faster acceleration and handling of the Charger.
Later this year, General Motors Co. will relaunch the Chevrolet Caprice police car after a 15-year absence from the U.S. market. GM also sells a police car based on the Impala. Carbon Motors Corp., a new company based in Indiana, plans to build police cars to departments' exact specifications starting in 2012. Even the Toyota Prius hybrid has been modified for police work in Seattle and other cities.