DETROIT - This time, Chevrolet's Police Tahoe will have a lower price.
The steep price for the 1999 Police Tahoe turned off law enforcement agencies. As a result, the high-speed vehicle stayed on the market for just one year.
General Motors learned lessons from "the sticker-shock issue," says Bruce Wiley, product and marketing manager of GM law enforcement programs.
GM has returned with the 2005 Police Tahoe, designed for high speeds. Wiley says that lowering the price was a high priority. GM also added standard equipment, compared with the 1999 model.
While prices vary depending on options, Wiley cites a contract that GM won for Oakland County, Mich.
"The Tahoe came out at $24,697 (each)," he says. "That same truck in 1999 was almost $28,000."
Wiley says the price was brought down because of "lower investment cost and the amortization of the current (Tahoe) program."
The 2005 model has several features the 1999 model did not offer: side-impact airbags, keyless entry and air conditioning vents in the rear to cool a police dog.
The 2005 Police Tahoe is a two-wheel-drive, half-ton SUV. It is engineered for a top speed of 125 mph.
Dave Spence, director of commercial incentives and portfolio planning of GM fleet and commercial operations, said the Tahoe's "center of gravity was lowered, giving it more stability in high-speed maneuvers."
The front suspension is 2.5 inches lower than that of a retail Tahoe. The rear was dropped 3 inches.
Standard equipment includes tires rated for high speeds, heavy-duty cooling and a skid-plate package. A hydroboost brake system provides reserve power to stop the vehicle if the engine stalls or is turned off.
GM's 295-hp 5.3-liter V-8 producing 330 pounds-feet of torque is standard. The engine can operate on fuel that contains 85 percent ethanol. The shift points for the automatic transmission were recalibrated for faster acceleration.
Spence expects GM to sell 6,000 units for the 2005 model year and 8,000 annually afterward. The Police Tahoe is suitable for use as a K-9 unit, SWAT unit and as a hazardous materials response unit, he says.
Wiley says the vehicle was developed with cooperation from the Michigan State Police. That agency uses the 1999 model. The 2005
Police Tahoe will go into production in November or December, depending on how quickly orders are received.