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Police Scale Back Purchases of $50,000 SUVs in Setback for Ford

  • NYPD bought 534 vehicles in FY2020, less than half prior year
  • Budget cuts, movement to defund departments pressures market
Police officers stand in front of their vehicles in Provo, Utah, on July 1.

Police officers stand in front of their vehicles in Provo, Utah, on July 1.

Photographer: George Frey/Getty Images

From

Police departments are under siege by twin crises: State and local coffers have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement is pressuring officials to target police budgets for cuts. That’s bad news for the automakers that supply law-enforcement vehicles, a niche business seen as a lucrative market not long ago.

Segment leader Ford Motor Co. and other police-car manufacturers including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and General Motors Co. compete for contracts that have provided stable profits and image-related benefits. Most are gussied up versions of their mass-market cars and trucks, so they can be produced relatively cheaply but with lots of upgrades such as motion detectors and 12-inch touch screens.