Dodge unveils high-tech system for 2016 Charger Pursuit – Detroit Free Press
Dodge unveiled a new touchscreen system for its Charger Pursuit Police car that frees up critical space for police officers as the brand seeks to continue to gain ground in the hotly contested police car market.
Tim Kuniskis, CEO of the Dodge brand, said the automaker developed a new, 12.1-inch Uconnect touchscreen system based on feedback from police officers who said they needed more space inside the police car. The new system includes an interface that allows officers to quickly toggle between vehicle controls.
“It’s all their idea,” Kuniskis said today at an event in Royal Oak. “The idea came from them, the development was driven by them.”
The police car market was dominated by Ford’s Crown Victoria for more than 30 years until the Dearborn automaker phased out that model in 2011 and replaced it with the Ford Taurus Police Interceptor. At the time, Ford controlled about 70% of the 70,000 or so police cars sold annually.
Since then, Ford, Dodge and General Motors with its Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle have been aggressively competing to win over police departments.
Kuniskis said Dodge views its police cars as halo vehicles that draw attention to its brand in the same way that its powerful Hellcat Charger and Challenger models generate buzz.
“Think about it, when you are on the street, what car gets more attention? Nothing,” he said. “You pretend you are not looking at the police when you drive by, but you are looking.”
Kuniskis said Dodge’s market share has ballooned from about 2% to 3% of all police sedans sold in 2006 to about 43% of the market in 2014.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he’s been a big fan of Charger police cars for years.
“I had one of the first Chargers in LAPD and I realized then the Charger was the way to go,” Craig said.
Last year, the Detroit Police Department received a donation of 100 police cars from Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. That allowed the department to become familiar with all three cars.
Some of the department’s police officers have complained that the Charger has less room than its competitors. But Craig said the new system Dodge unveiled today frees up space because it brings all of the car’s technology into a more compact area on the center console.
Detroit also purchased 105 Dodge Charger Pursuit sedans last year and plans to buy more in the future. The department has a total of about 700 marked and unmarked cars.
“I am just a big believer in this brand and what it can provide to the police in the future,” Craig said.
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