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Crown North America Providing A Complete Turn Key Solution

Crown North America Providing A Complete Turn Key Solution


By Brad Brewer


Founded in 1938, Crown North America, Inc (“Crown”) was founded as a metal finishing subcontractor in Orrville, Ohio.  Over the years, Crown specialized in the fabrication of sleeper cabs, conventional cabs, hoods and fenders with customers such as Autocar, Dodge, Ford and General Motors. Crown continued to grow as a pioneer in commercial van installations and established its first upfitting facility in Lorain, Ohio in 1961 to integrate components in Ford vans. The business continued to expand through organic sales growth and the acquisition of complimentary businesses. With an established core competency in the upfitting of vehicles, Crown developed a long and valued relationship with Ford that evolved over time to include the police segment.

Since the days of the iconic Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Crown has been upfitting Ford police vehicles for law enforcement and emergency response agencies across North America, Europe and the Middle East.  With a history of innovation and a strong commitment to customer satisfaction, Crown has become a valued partner to Ford Motor Company’s police vehicle program, becoming the first company to receive Ford’s Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) status for police equipment installations.

Acquired by Kerr Industries, one of North America’s largest specialty vehicle upfitters, in 2015, Crown has a renewed focus on providing highly engineered, integrated solutions for police fleets large and small, including:  custom wiring and power management solutions, video and communications systems, weapon and cargo storage systems, ballistics, prisoner and K-9 transportation systems, and emergency lighting solutions, all backed by an engineering and technical support team with market leading knowledge of OEM quality systems and processes. 

Over the past half decade, the upfitting industry has experienced significant levels of change as a result of the technologies being introduced by the OEMs. Responding to these technological innovations has been a focus of Crown and its affiliates.  With an increased level of complication to complete upfits and the aftermarket equipment becoming more customized, Crown has invested significantly in engineering, design, and technical staffing to support the level of integration required to have the vehicle and specialized police equipment operate as intended.  Crown can ensure that a customer’s vehicle is properly integrated and enters service faster, and with a market leading degree of reliability and consistency.

You may be asking; how does Crown differentiate their products and services from other upfitters? One clear difference is their commitment to engineering and the integration of non-OEM equipment, commonly known as aftermarket equipment, into or onto the vehicle.  Crown works very closely with the OEM’s Police Program engineers to ensure that every component meets the standards of the OEM, lighting/warning equipment manufacturers and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.  Crown is committed to ensuring that completed upfits operate as intended and fulfill every requirement of the specification without compromising quality and functionality.

For the Ford Police Interceptor program Crown recently moved into their new QVM approved facility right down the street from Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant (CAP) and Troy Design & Manufacturing (TDM) where the Ford Police Interceptor Utility and Sedan are produced and upfitted. In partnership with Ford, Crown is there to conveniently and efficiently enhance and compliment the excellent OEM product that CAP and TDM turn out every day.

Crown is able to maintain ship thru status with Ford’s own ordering system thus allowing a customer to specify an exact upfit requirement from TDM first and then go one step further and conveniently ship thru to Crown for further upfitting that is not offered by TDM. This has become especially popular for overseas customers including Europe, Caribbean and the middle east, some with very unique equipment specifications that cannot be fulfilled by the OEM or foreign market local upfitters.

One example of this integrated partnership with Ford would be the enhancement Crown brings to the Ford OEM “Ready for the Road” package. Once the vehicle travels through CAP and TDM the vehicle is then immediately sent to Crown where the factory package can be enhanced with the customer’s desired lighting package, light bar, push bar, prisoner partitions, K9 systems or any other aftermarket equipment required to fulfill their specifications. This enhancement is done to provide the turn key approach to the customer. Crown is one of the few upfitters that meets the Ford’s own internal Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) standards, this means that Fords own engineers must certify the standards and processes to which Crown upfits the vehicle.

Crown is constantly working in partnership with Ford Police Program engineers to ensure the highest level of integration. This constant dialogue between the Crown engineering team and the Ford Police Program team ensures that the upfit does not void the vehicles factory warranty, and takes full advantage of the features built into the vehicle in the first place. Nothing is over looked, this means that Crown must follow all OEM assembly processes and procedures.  An example of this would be when Crown removes an OEM seat during the upfit that the seat is reinstalled using the OEM seat torque specs at all times. As a result, when that vehicle leaves Crown’s facility it’s no different than when it leaves the Chicago Assembly Plant.

The older police vehicles were nowhere near as complex as today’s vehicles. Adding upfit equipment into a vehicle today is extremely complex with vehicle CANBUS systems, dual battery systems, hybrid fuel systems, and a whole host of other technologies that add to the complexity of upfitting. Being partnered with the OEM’s directly in order to be on top of any technology changes from the factory is now a “must have” for anyone trying to upfit a vehicle today.

Public Safety Agencies demand the highest level of consistency and quality, downtime is costly and a poor upfit job is devastating both operationally and financially to today’s fleets. Especially when budgets are tight and the purchasing of new equipment has never been under so much scrutiny. Whether or not Crown builds two vehicles for a smaller agency or 1,000 for a big agency, the builds are identical across every vehicle to that agency’s requirements.

Crown prides itself with ensuring not only the highest quality on the upfit, but consistency across the entire fleet. That means, Crown upfits each vehicle exactly the same across an agency’s specific customized way in everything they do. This commitment requires a high degree of advanced planning and engineering to support the upfitting process before the first vehicle is upfit.  For example, when a customer receives their vehicles, they will notice that all of the wiring, including routing, colors, labelling and printing on wires are consistent across all vehicles. This assists the agency’s garage operations or local service provider should the need arise to diagnose and service their vehicle, or install additional equipment into their vehicle through out the vehicle’s life cycle. When the vehicles arrive at the agency the fleet manager should not be able to see any differences across the fleet of vehicles.  It’s a one time, done right build process that meets or exceeds the customer’s requirements.

Vehicle complexity and the dynamics within the Automotive and Police Fleet sector require Product/Program launches be completed in a relatively short period of time. Crown has the proven experience and resources to effectively navigate and support the needs of all agencies as they work through this ever-increasing complex environment. Meeting and/or exceeding every customer’s expectations is critical.  With a focus on quality, integration, engineering, functionality and cost, Crown continues to support the upfitting needs of police agencies from coast to coast.  With a long history, dating back many decades, of successful launching a variety of programs/products, Crown can provide any size Agency with a turn key solution that will meet their exact requirements.

Sergeant Brad Brewer is a 27-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He was an eight-year member of the Ford Police Advisory Board and regularly gives presentations at law enforcement conferences on mobile computing, wireless technology and police vehicle ergonomics. He can be reached at




Published in Police Fleet Manager, Sep/Oct 2017

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