Queensland cop car in spotlight at flashy US car show
COP this, America. The Kia Stinger highway patrol car fitted out for the Queensland Police is taking star billing on the company's stand at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association's show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kia North America requested - and paid for - the car to be shipped to the USA, where they hope to convince local police departments to consider the twin-turbo V6 sedan.
Queensland will have 50 Stingers on the road by Christmas with more due next year and Western Australia has already committed to taking a similar number. The Northern Territory, South Australia and NSW are all evaluating the South Korean-built car for operational duties.
Australian police Stingers are fitted with a "plug and play" wiring loom to handle the extra equipment needed for law enforcement. In the case of the Queensland police car, that includes a pair of cameras capable of recognising number plates and faces, along with a radar camera mounted inside the car
Kia North America vice-president Michael Cole says the US police market is a tough nut to crack for a car built overseas.
"We're trying to sound out and understand what people think about it. You guys (Australia) have demonstrated you don't need to do much with the car … in standard form it's got everything the force requires. You never say never but it's a really tough nut to crack over here".
US police vehicles - including the Holden Commodore which was sold in the US as the Chevy Caprice - typically require custom seats to accommodate officers' gear belts, along with steel wheels and a partition to ensure those seated in the back don't try to climb into the front.
Four of Las Vegas' finest closely inspected the Stinger on the stand and were unanimous that it was a "pretty cool car", especially when told the rear-wheel-drive car would accelerate to 100km/h in less than five seconds.
"The front seat is probably too narrow and it might be a bit low. I'd probably throw my back out getting in and out and it'd need a new nose or we'd take the bumper off over the speed humps," said one officer, who declined to be named.