Ford's final Crown Victoria has rolled off the line
Nearly 10 million of the so-called Panther Platform vehicles – Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Cars – have been built since 1979. The need for greater fuel economy has slowed sales over recent years. The Crown Victoria and Town Car only get 24 miles per gallon on the highway. That’s not bad for a full size sedan, but a figure today equaled by some large SUVs.
Production halted last Thursday as the last model ever to be built rolled off the manufacturing line at Ford’s St. Thomas Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada.
"Production levels at the plant have declined by 60 percent in the last decade as customer preferences shifted to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles," Ford remarked in a published announcement.
The Ford Crown Victoria has only been available for fleet sales, mainly in police and taxi form, as well as for rental cars since the beginning of the 2008 model year. Along with its Mercury and Lincoln counterparts, it was the only full-frame rear-wheel-drive passenger car still built in North America.
It has been one of the last remaining US vehicles still featuring a column-mounted gear shift and two-bench, six-passenger seating. This was once the dominant format for US-manufactured vehicles since the 1950s, but now has been replaced in front by the bucket seats and console mounted shifter made popular by imports.
Since the Chevrolet Caprice was discontinued in 1996, Ford’s Crown Victoria held a near-monopoly as a police pursuit vehicle in North America. The Panther platform is was based on has seen two revisions since it debuted in 1979.