Over the past several years, the Australian car market has been left with a giant hole with the absence of the highly popular Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. Both General Motors (GM) and Ford have dropped their big sedan offerings from the market, with GM dropping out of the market all together. This left Aussie law enforcement scratching their heads, trying to figure out what they would replace their aging Australian fleets with.
Chrysler, offering its big, burly, 6.4-liter HEMI V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive sedans helped fill in for a bit. Fleet orders were taken by the New South Wales (NSW) Police Highway Patrol, and the Chrysler 300 SRT was successfully campaigned for the past two years. But earlier this year, Chrysler announced it would be leaving the market, thus leaving law enforcement to scratch their heads once again and trying to find yet another suitable replacement for their fleets.
A Brisbane-based company that specialized in privately importing vehicles from the United States and Canada, who then converting them from left- to right-hand-drive (RHD), believes it has the answer. SCD Remanfactured Vehicles (SCD) recently imported two 3.6-liter Pentastar V6-powered 2021 Dodge Charger Pursuit (Enforcer for those who live in Canada) models. SCD plans on converting the cars to right-hand-drive and then loaning them out to law enforcement agencies to test once they have been coverted to RHD.
While many agencies have already expressed interest in the vehicles, Dodge was quick to distance itself from the private importer once the news was released of their intentions. “Stellantis and FCA Australia do not have any direct business or legal affiliation or relationship with SCD Remanufactured Vehicles or any of its affiliates. These entities are not authorized importers of Stellantis branded vehicles, including the Dodge Charger or Ram Truck,” Stellantis said in an official statement to Australian car magazine CarAdvice.
“As such, Stellantis and FCA Australia cannot guarantee or endorse that the conversion processes employed by SCD, its affiliates, and other non-factory approved, third party importers comply with rigorous quality and safety requirements established by our internal processes and requirements of our company,” the statement continued. “We caution, therefore, that customers of non-factory authorised, third party importers, such as SCD, may not receive the same level of regulatory compliance for recall and safety obligations.”
“In contrast, customers who have purchased a converted vehicle from a factory-authorised importer can be assured that the quality, recall, and safety processes supporting these products are also aligned with the stringent requirements of government regulators and Stellantis’ global engineering team,” the statement concluded.
While SCD has been importing and converted both Dodge and Ram Trucks for a number of years now (including the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX), the company does not have the same direct link for support services as U.S. factory-backed operations like Ram Trucks Australia does. Those operations include safety, service, and warranty support.
Australian Mopar fans for a numbers of years, have wonder why the American performance muscle car brand hasn’t been more aggressive in the market. Instead, the last Dodge vehicle to enter the market was the Dodge Journey crossover.
We understand Dodge’s need to distance themselves for legal reasons if something were to happen due to a non-factory issue. Nevertheless, it seems that there might not be a better chance than ever to fill an important niche in the market, before someone else does.