One of the things I get asked often when making sales visit is which vehicle manufacture BUSH recommend. In all honesty, I don’t; and BUSH doesn’t have a true preference. The type of vehicle you choose for your fleet, or for your new vehicle will depend upon the application in which you use it. Each vehicle has pros and cons, and in some cases just look bad ass. Who can deny the awesome look of a marked Dodge Charger cruising down the street, or one of those Challengers [just don’t expect to arrest anyone, unless you’d like to hold hands and sing songs all the way to One PP].
We encourage you to review the needs of your department or agency comparative to the capabilities of each vehicle. We’re not in the business of selling you on one manufacture or another, we will however turn it into the vehicle you need it to be. With that being said, there are a few things we wanted to point out.
First we’d recommend whenever possible purchasing a vehicle that has a police or emergency vehicle factory wiring package. Factory prewire gives heavy power, ignition, ground and often times other optional inputs such as speed, brake, park sense, driver’s door ajar, etc. Although you may never need a speed or brake sense, some in car camera packages are looking for these inputs, on top of that most siren controllers have the ability to use park kill to turn off the siren automatically and with newer controllers such as the CenCom or CanTrol other options give greater control.
Ford has been spear heading the new police vehicle packages, and after dominating nearly 80% of the market with the Crown Victoria, it’s no surprise. Without sounding like I’m picking sides, Ford has done a great job designing the vehicles, and as far as options go most large vendors are picking up special add on’s specifically for Ford’s package. Take the Havis Integrated Control Solution for example, only available for the Ford Sedan and Utility. On top of that, Ford has teamed up with Whelen Engineering for lighting packages, and there is a reason. But here is where it gets tricky….
Although it’s a Whelen light, it’s a Ford part. All of Whelen’s products come with a 5 year warranty [there are a few exceptions such as strobes, siren speakers and a few select others], that is unless you purchased it with a Ford vehicle, then its 36,000 miles. Think about how quickly your fleet [or vehicle] can reach that mileage, for some departments it’s within months. I’m not suggesting that you’ll find a problem with Whelen lightings, to the contrary, but they offer a 5 year warranty for a reason; if there is a problem your investment is protected. That is one of the biggest reasons, along with the fact that every product is made here state side, why BUSH is proud to carry this brand.
The other thing we’ve found dealerships try and do is sell add on packages, often our customers don’t understand them, and in some cases either do the dealerships. The biggest suggestion I have is to include your upfitter on your build meetings. Ford is the only one right now that offers additional police vehicle packages, and although some have added benefits, some from our stand point aren’t necessary. Purchasing the ultimate wiring package, which is designed to be used with a CenCom, only to use an older siren controller or a 295 for example was nothing more than a 850 [give or take] waste of your overall budget.
We’re finding just about every new vehicle on the market has projection headlights, which makes flashing them nearly impossible [we won’t even offer it as an option]. Ford offers a neat solution using a Vertex light and flashing the high beam headlight, but at a cost. Both options can cost between $900 and $1400 depending on the dealership pricing. If you’ve purchased that already, you’ll want to sit down. For nearly the same price, I could have given you a lighted Setina push bumper, with Whelen Pioneer lights, installed. That’s a push bumper with 4 Whelen Ions, 2 Whelen Pioneers that double not only as warning lights but additional take downs and scene lights. Think of the added safety that alone could offer.
For those of you following our CanTrol plugs [and just wait, there are more coming], the ultimate wiring package doesn’t even come close to being helpful for use with the CanTrol. The “Ready for the Road Package” seems to be anything but, and remember it doesn’t come with a light bar. If you’re in New York, the lighting packages can be tricky because the stock package is Red/Blue. Great for rear facing lights, but that’s also the way it comes facing forward.
The point is this, keep your upfitter involved in your meetings, you’ll need them regardless for some of the work. None of the packages include a console, cage or computer equipment, or decommission your old vehicle.