Dodge, for the first time, has announced it will offer a law enforcement version of its Durango SUV as competition continues to heat up in the police car and truck segment.
The addition of the Durango Special Service SUV will help Chrysler round out its lineup of police and fire vehicles, Peter Grady, vice president of network development and fleet operations, said in a statement.
The Durango joins a redesigned Dodge Charger Pursuit introduced last year and a Ram 1500 Special Service truck.
For years, police car sales were dominated by Ford's reliable, rear-wheel drive Crown Victoria.
The Crown Victoria was the top pick for police departments from 1996 until 2010 with about a 70 percent share of the approximately 75,000 police cars sold annually.
While that represents a tiny fraction of annual industry sales, automakers typically earn a profit on the police cars and trucks and gain goodwill for providing police and fire departments with trusty vehicles to keep the public safe.
So as production of the Crown Victoria police car ended last year, a new era of competition arrived.
The Durango has a 7,400-pound towing capacity and more than 550-mile driving range with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine. It also is offered with a 360-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine.
"We're incredibly excited to add the Dodge Durango Special Service to our lineup of law enforcement vehicles," Grady said. "Adding Durango ... allows us to offer a full range of fleet sedan, SUV and truck options."
The Durango is available in rear or all-wheel drive and is being offered with beefed-up components such as a heavy-duty brake package, heavy-duty battery, larger-output 220-amp alternator and heavy-duty water pump and engine oil cooler.
In addition to Dodge, Ford faces renewed competition from General Motors. Last year, GM brought back the Chevrolet Caprice police car. The Caprice was the market leader before GM discontinued it in 1996.
Ford is aiming to hold onto its market share with a Ford Taurus Police Interceptor and a Ford Explorer SUV Police Interceptor.
Ford said last week that fuel efficiency is as important now to police departments as performance.
Ford said the 3.5-liter, V6 engine in the Ford Taurus and Explorer will get 35 percent better mileage than the Crown Vic's 4.6-liter V8 and a 3.7-liter V6 engine does 32 percent better.
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