Why do police officers drive bumpers so often?

Why the police drive silver-blue cars

Since 1975 green and white patrol cars have been turning around the corner in the Federal Republic of Germany. For almost 25 years, Audi 80, BMW 5 Series or VW Passat, which the respective country had bought, were in service. Often the patrol cars were driven until it was no longer possible. That changed in the 1990s. The state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg - and other federal states - decided to equip the police with new cars more quickly in the future and to save money if possible. For this, the police vehicles should be leased and no longer bought.

Silver cars sell better

Most often the German police drive BMW 3 Series. Until a few years ago, the Bavarian police ordered silver-green cars.

The Mercedes-Benz Bank took part in the tender with a leasing offer. The cars were painted in brilliant silver - in the 1990s silver was one of the most popular car colors. Especially with Mercedes-Benz - here the racing successes with the "Silver Arrows" in Formula 1 played a role. White had become unpopular in the 1990s and would have reduced the residual value after the lease ended. Because the residual value influences the leasing rate, the base paint of the leased police cars is silver. The police equipment is still installed in such a way that it can be removed without leaving any traces. The blue light bar is mounted in the opening for the sunroof, switches are integrated in the shelves.

How do I recognize a former police car?

Because the equipment needs space, the trend is towards people carriers like the Ford S-Max.

Although a former patrol car can be retrofitted without leaving a trace, there are clues. In Part II of the registration certificate, the car is entered as a "special purpose vehicle". This entry "must be" deleted "again in the registration certificate Part II if the vehicle is resold, since otherwise private registration can no longer take place," explains Daimler when asked. Another indication can be the prior approval for one of the "distinguishing signs of the federal states": In Baden-W├╝rttemberg, police vehicles are approved with, for example, "BWL 4-XXX". The most widespread emergency vehicles currently include the BMW 3 Series as well as the Mercedes E-Class and Vito. Because the equipment has become more extensive in recent years, the trend is towards MPVs; North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, is switching from the BMW 318d Touring to the Ford S-Max.

Traffic blue replaces mint green

Daimler AG / Mercedes-Benz
From 1975 police cars in the FRG were painted green and white. This Mercedes 420 SE with special protection accompanied money and valuables transports.

Today's blue foiling with yellow neon stripes was provided by the EU; Police vehicles should look more uniform. The Hamburg police drove blue-foiled patrol cars from 2001, other countries followed suit. The Free State of Bavaria stayed with RAL 6029 "Mint Green" until 2016. Except in Bavaria and Hamburg, the body of patrol cars was white and all moving parts were painted green. Bavarian patrol cars are not called that because they have a green stripe on the side; the term comes from "strip" in the sense of "to go" - to roam through the area.