Baddies in America could soon feel the full force of all-Australian law enforcement.
A Holden is being recruited to police the mean streets of Los Angeles in a deal that could eventually make the car the top choice with cops across the US. The multi-million dollar bid is for 20,000 cars and will be announced in the US today by GM-Holden chairman Alan Batey and Industry Minister Kim Carr. The law-enforcement lifeline renews the export potential of Holden's large car lineup to the US.
The VE Commodore had been a major success as a Pontiac G8 until the American brand sank under the weight of General Motors' bankruptcy earlier this year.
The latest deal comes after a successful pitch more than six months ago by a Holden team led by former president, Mark Reuss, who has since returned to the US to become the product development boss at General Motors.
The sleek V6 and V8 Statesmans - badged as Chevrolet Caprices - are likely to replace the LAPD's ageing fleet of Ford Crown Victoria sedans.
If successful, GM-Holden also stands a good chance of becoming a global supplier of GM cop cars for other countries. Batey, along with other Holden executives, are in Denver attending an international law enforcement conference.
Carr said if successful, the bid would be a big money spinner. "They're talking about 20,000 cars immediately with the prospect of a much higher number in the future," he said. "I'm optimistic about the quality of the car and if accepted by the Los Angeles police it could enhance Holden's ability to sell more cars to other US police departments."
Carr said the Holden police car was an opportunity for Australian initiative to be displayed ‘to show its true worth’. "I don't want to pre-empt the process though," he said. "It is quite rigorous. "However, we are very optimistic about the bid. "I'm quite sure they can persuade people how good the car is."
Carr is already in the US to spruik the local car and component industry to Detroit's leading car executives. The LA police car idea was the brains of Melbourne-based company, National Safety Agency. Earlier this year it built a prototype based on the left-hand drive Pontiac G8 to show off to the LAPD. The car showcased new law enforcement technologies. It integrated many separate technologies used by police forces into a single platform to create a police station on wheels.
The car has fingerprint recognition technology, video surveillance and CCTV access, traffic information and web access. It also boasted a police computer screen molded directly into the dashboard. The NSA specialises in innovative technology for emergency service vehicles.