THE Ford Mustang may be in hot demand but it won’t be in hot pursuit.
The iconic US muscle car has lost its police stripes after failing a critical test at the final hurdle before it could become a highway patrol vehicle.
NSW Police are now likely to be driving Volvo sedans and wagons, after their highway patrol counterparts in Queensland took delivery of five Swedish cars last month as part of a trial.
News Corp Australia has been told the Ford Mustang passed a brake test in the simulated pursuit at the police driving academy in Goulburn, however the automatic transmission overheated after just two laps, or about three minutes of driving.
The Mustang was then taken to the local Ford dealership in Goulburn for repairs after the performance flagship went into “limp home mode”.
While Ford is now holding a record 6000 orders in Australia for the Mustang — pushing the waiting list to 18 months — none will join NSW Police ranks after failing the endurance test, which is conducted for safety reasons before a car can be put into police service.
The future of the Ford Mustang bought by NSW Police for the trial is unclear. It may be used as a show pony at road safety displays, or could be stripped of its livery and sold.
The Ford Mustang was one of a number of vehicles police are considering to replace Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon pursuit cars, once they go out of production.
The Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon have been a staple of highway patrol fleets across Australia for decades, with more than 1000 in use nationally.
The Mustang’s police test failure means Ford will miss out on a large slice of the market it has previously dominated.
While cars like the Toyota Camry will replace general duties police sedans, finding suitable highway patrol vehicles is more difficult because the Falcon and Commodore have a lot of performance for the price.
Once the Ford production line closes in October 2016 and the Holden production line closes in late 2017, police will be forced to drive imported cars.
Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood told News Corp Australia the Mustang “was not specially engineered for police use” and described the test as “extreme” as it involves “more than twice the amount of braking manoeuvres as the global standard”. Ford had to make upgrades to the brakes and transmission cooling to the current Falcon before it passed the police test.
Mr Sherwood added: “We are confident Mustang would help officers chase down bad guys if put into service”.
NSW Police said it would not comment as the evaluation process for highway patrol replacement vehicles was “ongoing”.
Last week, police in Victoria became the envy of their colleagues after taking delivery of a $200,000 Mercedes SUV that can sprint from 0 to 100kmh in a Porsche-like 4.2 seconds.
But it did not cost taxpayers one cent because it was donated by Mercedes for a 12-month trial.