In a deal worth more than €15 million at showroom prices, the 2.5-litre Subaru Legacy AWD GX Estate beat competition from Audi and Volkswagen to become the police's prime weapon in patrolling Italy's many mountainous stretches of autostrada.
Colonel Giuseppe Federico of the Padua division was involved in the selection process from when the tenders were opened a year ago, and evaluated the cars, including tests on military proving grounds.
'Tenders were accepted from all over Europe and we evaluated the contenders on an equal basis. In the end, the Legacy met our exhaustive specification and, from my own experience with the two cars we've been running, the results have been very positive,' he said.
The purchase order came officially from the Ministry of the Interior, but the cars are owned and managed by Autostrade SpA, the company that runs Italy's toll motorways.
A total of 100 of the Legacys are special equipment models and come with the most advanced satellite transmitter/receiver units in Europe, while the otherwise standard cars are imported from Japan already painted in the traffic police's livery.
Subaru's package includes free servicing and normal maintenance, a fact the police consider particularly advantageous given that the cars will cover about 80,000km annually. Subaru is also providing advanced safety driving courses for officers on patrol, and in the Calabria region, the company has set up six more authorised workshops to help the sole dealership in the area cope with maintaining the cars. (April 2000)