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Auto blogMon, 24 Mar 2014 11:29:00 EST
There is a new vehicle that you should keep an eye out for when you're going a little too fast down the Interstate. Ford's Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility was the bestselling new law enforcement model in the country last year, and signs show that won't be changing anytime soon.
Ford sold 14,086 Interceptor Utilities in 2013, up 140% from the year before, and 10,897 Interceptor Sedans, up 31%, according to USA Today. Overall, the brand's police sales were up 48 percent, and they were enough to boost the company's law enforcement vehicle market share by 9 points to nearly 50 percent.
The success comes just a few years after it made the decision to finally retire the long-serving Crown Victoria-based cruiser for two more modern vehicles. "We had to reinvent the category," said Chris Terry of Ford Communications to Autoblog. The automaker had to convince police departments that a unibody chassis without a V8 could perform better than a model that had been a law enforcement staple for years.
At present, over 90 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States today are equipped with event data recorders, more commonly known as black boxes. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets its way, that already high figure will swell to a full 100 percent in short order.
Such automotive black boxes have been in existence since the 1990s, and all current Ford, General Motors, Mazda and Toyota vehicles are so equipped. NHTSA has been attempting to make these data recorders mandatory for automakers, and according to The Detroit News, the White House Office of Management Budget has just finished reviewing the proposal, clearing the way. Now NHTSA is expected to draft new legislation to make the boxes a requirement.
One problem with current black boxes is that there's no set of standards for automakers to follow when creating what bits of data are recorded, and for how long or in what format it is stored. In other words, one automaker's box is probably not compatible with its competitors.
It's hardly a secret that the auto industry is undergoing an enormous, tectonic shift in the way it thinks, builds cars and does business. Between alternative forms of energy, a renewed focus on low curb weights and aerodynamic bodies, the advent of driverless and autonomous cars and the need to reduce the our impact on the environment, it's very likely that the car that's built 10 years down the line will be scarcely recognizable when parked next to the car from 10 years ago.
Few people are as able to explain the industry's many upcoming changes and challenges as clearly as William Clay Ford, Jr., better known as Bill Ford. The 57-year-old currently sits as the executive chairman of the company his great-grandfather, Henry Ford, founded over 110 years ago.
In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Ford explains that the role of automakers is, necessarily, going to change to suit the needs of the future world. That means changing the view of not just the automobile, but the automaker. As Ford explains it, automakers will "move from being just car and truck manufacturers to become personal-mobility companies."