With Australian manufacturing winding down by year's end, the Victorian police force will turn to imported models to replace its fleet of ageing Ford Territorys, tapping the Toyota Kluger and Hyundai Santa Fe to bolster its ranks.
According to Victoria Police transport branch manager Frank Melilli, almost 100 new vehicles have already been ordered – 30 Hyundai Santa Fes and 60 Toyota Klugers – with expected deliveries in March and April to see the changing of the guard as Ford’s home-grown SUVs are phased out after the end of their lease cycle, which lasts three years or 60,000 kilometres.
Victoria Police’s new Hyundai fleet will be specified with diesel powertrains and all-wheel drive traction, while the batch of Toyotas will also arrive in AWD configuration, but will have petrol engines.
Toyota Australia PR boss Stephen Coughlan has revealed the Japanese manufacturer is working on a police pack for all-paw Klugers that meets the Police's specific requirements.
Mr Coughlan also said that 20 Klugers have already joined police forces across several states, including several in Victoria.
Police packs fitted by both car-makers to their respective vehicles at the factory will include upgraded brake pads, an additional battery and wiring to support police lights and sirens, as well as other electronic equipment.
However, this will not mark the first time that imported vehicles will be used to police Australian roads. The NSW Police already employ the Hyundai iLoad van and Queensland Police make use of a fleet of Isuzu D-Max utes.
Mr Coughlan said Toyota has already supplied examples of its imported line-up to Australian police forces, including the LandCruiser 200 Series, 70 Series and Prado, plus HiLux utes in 4x2 and 4x4 setups.
Additionally, a handful of Corolla, Coaster, HiAce, RAV4 and Tarago models have also been added to police fleets nationally.
Hyundai Australia PR boss Bill Thomas also confirmed that the Tasmanian police force had already started superseding its Ford Territory fleet with Hyundai Santa Fes.
Australian police forces have been seeking replacement vehicles for its fleets since the announcement that Holden, Ford and Toyota would be shuttering its local manufacturing operations.
Government guidelines have favoured locally made cars in the past, including the rear-drive Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, as well as the Toyota Camry, Holden Cruze and Ford Territory, which have long been favourites of local law enforcement for use as pursuit and general purpose vehicles.
Vehicles under consideration in the past include the Ford Mustang and Kia Stinger for pursuit duties, while the new and imported Holden Commodore and Kia Sorento have also been considered as replacements.
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