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Police feel the force of Volkswagen Group

Date: 23 August 2006

The Volkswagen Group confirmed its aspiration to target the UK's police forces for sales by attending last week's National Association of Police Fleet Managers Show in Wiltshire.

The attendance in force of the Group's four mainstream brands - Audi, Seat and Skoda as well as Volkswagen itself - followed last year's almost complete failure by the brands to meet the criteria for police forces set down by the Home Office. Then, only the VW Touareg measured up to the detailed requirements.

A common underlying theme to the show was being able to boast green credentials, and the host county was no exception, becoming the first force in the country to take delivery of a high performance hybrid pursuit vehicle. The purchase of a Lexus GS450h by the Wiltshire Police follows successful trials by the Hampshire and Northumbria forces, who in turn are expected to place orders "within the next few months", said a Lexus spokesman.

Strangest rumour of the show was news there's a backroom discussion at Vauxhall about possibly rebadging and selling Chevrolet Captivas as Vauxhall models, despite the imminent arrival of another new model, the Vauxhall Antara, which is itself based on the Captiva. "We don't think the Capitva would compete with the Antara since it has seven, not five seats," said an insider.