Ford Motor Co. will sell new versions of its Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis cars to customers instead of police and taxi companies, officials said.
Ford will concede some sales to Chevrolet in deciding not to offer those full-size vehicles to fleets in the cars' first year of production. But the automaker said it thinks it can sell all 250,000 of its new Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis cars to individual customers. That could be a boon to the automaker, since prices paid by retail customers are higher than those paid for fleets.The Crown Victoria, with a base price of $18,728, officially went on sale Thursday. The Mercury Grand Marquis, with a base price of $19,361, goes on sale in two weeks.
Those two full-size cars, along with the similarly sized Chevrolet Caprice, have made up a vast majority of car sales to taxi companies and police agencies.
Automakers traditionally sell big percentages of their cars to fleet purchasers, including large corporations and rental-car companies along with taxi operations and police departments. Last year, for instance, about 40 percent of Ford's 200,000 Crown Victorias were sold to fleets.
Fleet sales provide less profit than retail sales. But putting cars into fleets, especially as taxis and rental cars, give the vehicles exposure to potential buyers and help maintain production levels at assembly plants.
This year, however, Ford decided to forgo fleet sales on the new Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis.