Göteborg, Sweden—The Swedish police love Volvo’s purpose-built XC70 D5 AWD enough that the home-grown car maker has 90 percent of the local market. But with a new specialized chassis and anti-roll bars, shock absorbers and springs, the manufacturer is hoping to take global police forces by storm.
The car scored 9/10 in a test that covers noise, comfort, stability, elk and braking tests and evasive maneuvers.
Currently, Volvo Cars sells between 500-600 police cars every year. Most of them are sold in Sweden, but Volvo police cars can also be found in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. “With our new model year 2014 cars with the new chassis, we have an even wider product range and we believe we can double our sales numbers in the coming years. Already now, we are in discussions with at least a dozen different police forces around the globe: seven in Europe, two in the Americas and three in Asia. And we are determined to add more to that list,” says Ulf Rydne, business manager commercial vehicles at Volvo Car Special Vehicles and Accessories, where Volvo police cars are developed.
The Swedish Police recently designated the 2014 Volvo XC70 D5 AWD as the best car in its fleet—out of six different cars—after exhaustive tests, with an overall score of nine out of ten. The Volvo XC70 D5 AWD scored ten out of ten in emergency driving and booked an overall score of nine out of ten in the test, that also covers noise, comfort, stability, elk and braking tests and evasive maneuvers. Driveability, engine performance as well as cornering and braking stability were some of the features highlighted in the test report.
Volvo Cars will continue to offer fully-equipped police cars as it has done for many years. “However, with our new chassis we now also have the possibility to offer police forces a ‘base’ car with only a specially developed chassis,” explains Ulf Rydne. “Police forces can then equip their police cars according to local demands. This approach makes our police cars attractive to a much broader target group, because it allows us to compete on price as well as on quality.”
The cars are also subjected to a large number of verification drives on all types of road surface: for example, cars are taken on high-speed driving tests on the German autobahns, winter road driving in northern Sweden, as well as high-friction driving in Spain. Volvo Cars is one of few car manufacturers that have developed a special chassis for police cars.
“The weight of police cars is increasing, which requires a stable chassis, and we were approaching the limit. Police forces need a car that performs predictably and does not offer any surprises. That is why we develop our police cars in close cooperation w cars in close cooperation with the Swedish police, who are involved throughout the product development phase. That way, we get first-hand insight into the demands placed on a police car,” says Rydne.
“Unlike in many other countries, the police car is seen as a workplace in Sweden, which means it has to meet very strict demands,” says Rydne. “So when our car is seen as the best in the Swedish police fleet, it is no wonder that other police forces around the globe are also interested in our offering. Because it has been developed with Swedish standards in mind, the basic quality of the car is excellent.”
Volvo police cars are first built on the production line in the Torslanda factory, and then equipped as police cars in an integrated production process. The process of converting a car into a police car takes around 45 hours. Production for the 2014 model year with the new chassis will commence in late November, with the first new police cars being delivered at the start of next year.