Free Volvos oust Saabs in Aspen

There was a story going around a little while ago that the townsfolk of Aspen, Colorado (or more specifically, the police folk) would be getting a free fleet of Volvos to replace the Saabs they’ve been driving (since the 1970’s – and no, they haven’t been driving 1970’s Saabs for 30 years, there’s been updates).

Well, it’s more than a rumour now.  Confirmed in the Denver Post, you can click below for the story.

Funny, it doesn’t mention the very low price tag, just that they’ll be cheaper than Ford Explorers.  Read below and then think about whether or not the General has dropped the ball (again?).

If just about everything in Aspen is a cut above average, it
follows that Aspen’s finest should patrol the town’s star-studded
streets in a ride hipper than the ubiquitous Crown Victoria police
cruisers.

Since the 1970s, the 27-officer Aspen Police Department has
driven a fleet of Saab sedans. But soon the department plans to trade
up to Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicles, a move somewhat echoing Vail,
where the Swedish-made Volvo has become the official town vehicle.

Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud said in her town these higher-end vehicles
aren’t really about maintaining an upscale image. They are more geared
toward being at the head of the pack environmentally.

"It’s
really more environmental image than luxury image," Klanderud said of
the Volvo SUVs, which are virtually emission-free, have good crash-test
ratings and get about 20 mpg.

Before turning to the Volvos, Aspen police researched the
possibility of switching to gas/electric vehicles, but they learned
those evolving hybrids may not yet be up to the task of stop-and-go
town driving and powering all the flashing lights and extra electronic
gadgets required in police work.

All the gadgets also
required moving into larger vehicles from the more compact Saabs, said
Aspen Assistant Police Chief Richard Pryor. The Volvos are midsize SUVs
that can accommodate computers, weapons and first-aid supplies, and
still have room left over for several scofflaws.

Volvo has
become the official sponsor for the Vail Valley Foundation and is
replacing Vail Resorts’ fleet of BMWs. Some town officials will be
cruising in Volvos, and negotiations are underway to replace the Police
Department’s Ford Explorers with Volvos.

"We’re thrilled to have Volvos. It’s a luxury the foundation hasn’t had," said foundation vice president John Dakin.

These transitions are going smoother than some past vehicle upgrades in Colorado municipalities.

The Breckenridge Police Department caught so much grief when it
switched to Land Rovers in 1999 that the pricey vehicles were traded in
within two years.

In Grand Junction, the Police Department
had a run-in with critics when it replaced its Harley-Davidson
motorcycles with BMWs several years ago.

But fiscally prudent taxpayers don’t need to feel too much angst about the new wheels.

The Volvo XC90 starts at about $35,000 and goes up to $58,000 with all
the luxury touches. Ford Crown Victorias start at about $30,000, and
the Ford Explorers added to many departments in recent years have a
base price of $27,000.

Randy Tuggle, general manager of
Roaring Fork Volvo in Glenwood Springs, described the Swedish SUVs that
will become police cruisers as "baser than base." For now, the plan is
to send about 10 cars to Aspen and 18 to Vail, but he says they will
have no resort-caliber frills – no leather, no surround sound and no
seat-back TVs.

You may also like

3 Comments

  1. maybe they’ll replace the volvos with the 9-7x
    in a couple of years. on the other hand, why
    they couldn’t wait a month or so for the 9-7x.
    …seems to be an implicit “thumbs down” for
    the “trailblazer-saab.”

    so, until gm decides to let saab be “saab,” it
    appears that “saab” will just be a badge without
    credentials. *gulp*

  2. 9x,

    Given the enviro-conscious nature of the choice, I don’t think the 9-7x would have ever been in the hunt. I’m sure a 4×4 9-3SC would have though, if there was one. It might have made an interesting launch-point for the vehicle in the US as well.

    Heretik – nothing at all wrong with 1970’s 99s. I’ve got one myself. Just not sure it’d be up to the rigours of modern policing, which requires more than just the ability to start consistently in cold weather 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *