Dodge Charger police cars under evaluation

Aussie criminals may soon have American cop cars on their tails.

Specific police-prepared versions of the Dodge Charger are about to undergo evaluation by Australian police with the view to putting the four-door sedan into service.

Queensland-based SCD Remanufactured Vehicles – which converts American cars and trucks to right-hand drive under its AUS MV brand – has imported two of the Chargers to Australia.

Each is currently being converted to right-hand drive before being loaned to Federal Police for evaluation. SCD also plans to loan a car to Queensland Police within weeks.

“The Federal police and hopefully the Queensland police will be testing them,” says SCD co-owner Eddie Kocwa.

“We’ve remanufactured these two Dodge Chargers for the police and we’re about to lend them out, so they’ll be testing them.”

Australian police forces traditionally used Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons for general and pursuit duties, but with the end of manufacturing in 2017 that left an opening for imported brands.

Kocwa says the Chargers cost “about 100 grand” for police duties once the conversions have been done.

NSW and Victorian police currently use diesel-powered BMW luxury sedans as their pursuit vehicles. They retail for an eye-popping $135,000 drive-away, roughly three times the cost of the old Falcons and Commodores.

The Queensland police force uses the much cheaper Kia Stinger, which retails for about $58,000.

But Kocwa says the Kia requires a number of modifications to ready it for police duty.

“In America the Dodge Charger is specifically built for police work,” he says.

That means there is very little that needs to be done beyond shifting the steering wheel to the right-hand side of the car.

“These are built on the factory line for police work.”

The Charger Pursuit – as it’s called in the US – comes with more robust steel wheels, bigger brakes, unique seats to accommodate bulky gun belts and a column shifter to free up space for police equipment in the centre of the car. The 12.1-inch screen can also be configured to run with police equipment, while the front protection bar incorporates flashing LED lights.

The cars currently in Australia are both powered by a V6 engine, but the Charger is also available as a V8.

The police spec versions are also available as a rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (there’s one of each under evaluation locally).

Kocwa says that if the company wins a contract, it will create local jobs associated with the conversion process.

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