Story and photographs by Benjamin Greene
Originally published by Dupont Registry: http://www.dupontregistry.com/autos/blog/post/2012/02/02/gm-admits-to-delays-in-delivering-caprice-to-police.aspx
General Motors has confirmed that there is a delay in when police departments are receiving their Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicles (PPVs). This delay could affect the ordering process for many departments’ fleets, suspending any additional purchases to the next fiscal year until the PPV can be properly tested by each. We spoke to more than five departments in our local Tampa Bay area. Of those, only two had received PPVs for testing while another three were still waiting for delivery of their cars. The two that had received their PPVs, the Clearwater Police Department and Largo Police Department, only ordered a couple vehicles to test against competitors from Dodge and Ford. Unfortunately, the time it is taking to acquire test vehicles is pushing back changes to these departments’ fleets. The Largo Police Department, for instance, ordered more Ford Crown Victorias for 2012 to satisfy its need for new cruisers until the PPV could be properly vetted.
The delay appears to stem from two key areas: shipping from Australia and at the dealerships.
“We did order these vehicles as soon as we received pricing,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Undestad of the Largo Police Department. But, he said it took GM more than eight months to deliver its cars and another five months at the dealer level to equip them for police duty. As Undestad explained, last minute changes made by GM kept affecting vendors’ fabrication processes, so many vendors waited until the last minute to design the necessary gear. This has caused interruptions at the dealerships responsible for equipping much of the police hardware.
Undestad isn’t the only that has noticed the delays. Rick Carnley, assistant director of solid waste and general services for the Clearwater Police Department and who helps oversee the fleet purchases, said it took GM 10 months to deliver its two test vehicles, and he has real concerns about GM’s ability to deliver any future purchases in a timely manner. He compared his wait negatively to Chrysler’s usual delivery time of 60–90 days.
Pamela Flores, customer care and aftersales for GM’s Fleet and Commercial Operations, confirmed the shipping holdups, but estimated it is postponing deliveries by only five months.
“There is additional shipping time because the vehicle is coming from Australia thru California where it has to go thru the import process,” Flores said. “The GM police vehicle content is added and then shipped to the dealer, generally on rail a long distance. … We are making every effort to get our orders completed as quickly as possible.”
She also mentioned that GM now has a pool of inventory at the port, which should help reduce the time it takes departments to acquire their vehicles. Until then, we are less likely to see GM's specially purposed police car around Tampa Bay.