End of an era: Ford to stop making Crown Victoria

With their favorite patrol vehicle, the Crown Victoria, no longer being manufactured by Ford after August, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department has opted to trade in 10 of its cars for what will be its final order for “Crown Vics.”

In use by the county for 10 years, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor model “is the No. 1 law enforcement vehicle in California and the most widely used by all law enforcement departments within the United States,” according to an e-mail to The Tribune from county General Services Director Janette Pell.

“It is the ‘tried and true’ police cruiser, due to its power and construction,” Pell wrote.

She wrote that Ford will stop accepting orders in February.

The cost of replacement will be $263,276, according to Pell’s staff report to the Board of Supervisors, who approved the purchase Tuesday.

The current mileage on the 10 vehicles that will be traded in ranges from 63,267 to 92,267, but Pell estimates that all 10 will have gone more than 100,000 miles by the time the replacement cars arrive. They were put in service between July 2008 and January 2009.

Generally, the county’s Fleet Services Department, which reports to Pell, seeks a life expectancy for the cruisers of 100,000 miles or 36 months.

“We are not requesting to issue these vehicles early,” Pell wrote. She said the county needs to order “in advance due to the lack of availability when they will be needed.”

There is a 10- to 16-week “build out” time frame by manufacturers after the order is placed, she wrote. In addition to that, the county has to conduct “internal build out,” a process that includes swapping specialized equipment from the decommissioned vehicles into the new vehicles.

Despite Ford phasing out the Crown Vics, “parts for repair and routine maintenance will continue to be readily available for many years, due to the market saturation and widespread use of the Ford Crown Vic,” Pell wrote.

“Ford has expressed their commitment to servicing these vehicles as they remain in law enforcement fleets throughout the United States. Our expectation is that there is an approximate eight to 10-year window of availability for necessary parts,” she wrote.

Pell wrote that the Fleet Services Department is working with the Sheriff’s Department to seek a new “pursuit vehicle” model to replace the Crown Victoria.

They will be looking at “the vehicle’s ability to perform in a pursuit application, the safety of our sworn officers, the protection of the general public, vehicle reliability, maintenance costs, fuel economy and resale value,” she wrote.

The Sheriff’s Department has 33 vehicles “active at all times,” Pell wrote.