Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hoorah For Connersville!

Carbon Motors will build the first purpose-built law enforcement patrol car, and it has chosen Connersville, Indiana as the site to invest $350 million in a manufacturing plant that will employ 1,550 workers. It looks like there are many details to be worked out to make the new plant at the former site of bankrupt Visteon a reality, but the announcement today by Gov. Daniels and Carbon Motors CEO William Li before a crowd of more than a 1,000 local residents gave the town something to cheer about for the first time after a long string of economic setbacks. Photo credit of Gov. Daniels and Li to the Richmond Palladium-Item.


Unigov said...

I don't think the world was waiting for this, a $50,000 cop car.

The whole thing is financed by the US government.

Sounds like the airport's United Facility...though, all things being equal, thi shas a better chance of creating jobs than a $750 million NFL stadium.

Downtown Indy said...

I thnk they have a long way to go to prove themselves viable.

Will these have any resale value? Probably little or none due to the uniqueness of the construction and components.

As I understand it, they have a backseat area that can literally be hosed down (something hard and not 'normal' sedan comfort that a civilian buyer would expect/want.

Also, the dash is a custom-fitted integrated unit of some sort. This means (a) potential difficulties with MECA's onboard MDT/radio link gear and (b) strange gaping holes once this is removed for resale.

Parts and availability - how much of it is common with the rest of the city fleet?

Special training expenses - these cars seem to be 'different' all the way around so maintenance crews may find them a problem vs what they are used to seeing.

For Connorsville's sake I hope it flies, but I'm still pretty skeptical of the whole thing.

Downtown Indy said...

Oh yeah, it's diesel, so will departments have to retrofit diesel tanks/pumps at their refuel sites?

My guess is some but not all have diesel currently. Since normally just city trucks run diesel, refueling may only be possible at a limited number of pumps, not all refuel stations around a metro area.

Gary R. Welsh said...

There are many unanswered questions about today's announcement. Most notably, it looks like financing for the new plant is far from certain. I hope it's for real.

Sir Hailstone said...

Actually from what I read about this car on other websites (don't have links, sorry) this car is not designed to be sold when retired like the present Crown Vics and Impalas. I'll give you an example - UPS trucks. Ever seen one of those resold? No. UPS has the Big Brown Trucks refurbed and sends them back out on the road. If the business model works like I'm predicting, cars will be returned to Carbon for refurb and return to the streets.

Unigov - What do you think a standard Crown Vic sells for?

These are not designed as undercover cars. These are designed for standard patrol.

Most cities fleet pumps have diesel anyway. Snowplows and street maintenance vehicles are normally diesel.

Now whether this car will be considered "too good" and we'll have another "Tucker" on our hands that's another question.

Downtown Indy said...

Big difference with UPS is they are refurbing their own equipment - it's not a profit center. And they have far simpler componentry, so that refurb work is pretty low-tech. A few rails, flat or simple curves on skin panels, etc. so you cutoff, weld up and it's done. Havng done deliveries on several of those trucks, I can tell you they rattle and squeak like mad. Putting a sedan back together would be a much more complex and thus expensive proposition.

Maybe they can make it work and be cost-effective. But so far it's all just a salesman's promises.

I trust that less that I do a Barney Levengood or Bob Grand promise.