Blue Line

What happened to the Caprice

December 7, 2011  By Morley Lymburner

We are currently writing a series of articles regarding available police package patrol cars available to police departments in Canada. We have completed all our evaluations on 19 vehicles produced by three manufacturers for our January edition.

At the eleventh hour we were advised by a senior police officer that the GM Chevrolet Caprice will not be available in Canada for police use. Since this vehicle’s operational capabilities came high on the score list in our investigations we were concerned why it was not going to be available in Canada. General Motors themselves were not forthcoming as to their reasons even though it will be widely distributed in the U.S.

The first rumour was that this was due to import duties from the US and that since it was manufactured in Australia it falls outside NAFTA and the Autopact and was prohibited on political grounds. The second rumour was due to the above it was slapped with an exorbitant import duty that put it beyond competitive pricing vis a vis Ford and Chrysler. This was dispelled by information that the duty would be no more than 5 or 6 per cent which would not be anywhere near prohibitive for competitive bids.

The last suggestion was that it was not approved for importation by Transport Canada’s as it did not meet the approval of safety and equipment standards in place for Canada.  I checked your most recent listings on the web pages and found the Caprice is not on that list. This makes the most logical sense in that its manufacturer was required to re-tool to produce it in a left hand drive configuration which may not have passed Transport Canada’s approval process as yet.

Other issues abound including whether or not it is a political maneuver to have the vehicle manufactured in Oshawa.

As our deadline is near for publishing would it be possible to have some clarifications or confirmations of any of these suggestions? If we can not meet deadlines our only alternative is to publish the above rumours.

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