Secret Service shopping for new presidential limo
General Motors is frontrunner since bid restricts vendors to domestic automakers with U.S. headquarters.
The Department of Homeland Security is shopping for a new presidential limousine for when the next chief executive enters office in 2017.
The current Cadillac limousine that made its debut just before President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, nicknamed "The Beast,” replaced the 2006 Cadillac DTS limo that President George W. Bush had used since his second inauguration in 2005.
President Obama typically rides in the Beast for official business while stateside. When he travels abroad, it’s in an armored Chevrolet Suburban.
The bid restricts the vendor to major domestic automobile manufacturers with headquarters in the United States. So this means that bidders will likely include veteran presidential limo builders General Motors and Ford. GM has built the Cadillac presidential limousine for more than 30 years, while Ford built presidential Lincoln limousines decades earlier. The Detroit News reported that a Ford spokeswoman didn’t comment on whether the Dearborn automaker planned to bid on the project.
The current presidential limousine, which is based on GM's medium-duty truck platform, is fortified with armor that’s five inches thick. It has run-flat tires, bulletproof glass and, in case of a chemical attack, a completely sealed interior. Although the vehicle’s curb weight is classified, based on earlier models, it is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
“There’s more security around the development of a presidential limo than any of our products,” Ed Welburn, GM vice president for design, told the Detroit News. “It takes a number of years to develop the car.”
Of course, the car also has significant electronic communications equipment, and Obama’s directive that all federal vehicles purchased in 2015 be advanced-technology models will definitely influence the next POTUS set of wheels. According to his campaign fact sheet, another Obama decree was that “within one year of becoming president, the entire White House fleet will be converted to plug-ins as security permits; and half of all cars purchased by the federal government will be plug-in hybrids or all electric by 2012.” But currently no vehicles in White House fleets have ever been converted.
We suggest that a Tesla armored limo be considered since it would meet Obama’s plug-in mandate and satisfies the domestic requirement, although Tesla is not yet a “major” automaker. Hyundai’s Zombie Assault Vehicle could also be a great contender if it wasn’t from a foreign company.
[Source: Detroit News]
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