Life Auto ‘Yank tanks’ to invade Australian police forces after Holden’s demise

‘Yank tanks’ to invade Australian police forces after Holden’s demise

The next New South Wales Highway Patrol will be the slab-sided Chrysler 300 SRT Core.
The next New South Wales Highway Patrol will be the slab-sided Chrysler 300 SRT Core. Photo: Chrysler
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A ‘Yank Tank’ portrayed as a favourite of TV crime bosses is to be pressed into service by the New South Wales police to enforce road rules.

The slab-sided Chrysler 300 SRT Core is getting the job with the NSW Highway Patrol because of the death of the locally-built Holden Commodore.

The 300 was a cult hit when first launched in Australia in the mid-2000s, the first generation even featuring in the hit gangster show The Sopranos. The second generation was driven by drug king Walter White in Breaking Bad.

The 300’s size, performance-oriented rear-wheel drive layout and powerful 350kW 6.4-litre engine have made it a like-for-like replacement for the V8 Holden Commodores favoured by the Highway Patrol.

The substantial multi-year fleet deal triggered by Holden’s demise will also play a key role in ensuring the Chrysler brand’s survival in Australia.

Official confirmation of the deal may not come until March 2018, but sources close to the process say it helps ensure Chrysler will stay on sale in Australia through at least 2018-19.

nsw police holden
The days of Holden Commodore police cars are numbered. Photo: Getty

Chrysler has been the lowest profile division of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles conglomerate in Australia in recent times, offering only the large 300 sedan family in its line-up and averaging a little more than 20 sales per month in 2017.

The decision to go with the hulking American four-door is indicative of the fracturing of the police highway patrol and general duties fleet market in the wake of Commodore ceasing production last October and the Ford Falcon in 2016.

The German BMW 530d is also expected to be added to the NSW Highway Patrol line-up, following on from its confirmation as a replacement for locally-made vehicles in Victoria.

But unlike the 300, the BMW is a frugal six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, albeit also offering strong performance.

Other cars understood to be in contention for different deals around the country include the Subaru all-wheel drive WRX, Levorg and Liberty, the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, the Kia Stinger and even the Genesis luxury car, which is a division of Hyundai.

Meanwhile, Holden hasn’t given up on its new imported Commodore gaining a slice of the lucrative national police fleet business.

The car is a complete change from the old model, as it does not have a V8 engine. Its most performance-oriented model has a V6 engine and all-wheel drive.

The new Commodore launches in February with pricing staring at $35,990 drive-away.

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