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Why is Wilmington buying police cruisers from an out-of-town dealer?

Julian March
StarNews
Dodge Charger

Wilmington bought 10 Dodge Charger Pursuits from a High Point dealer under a state contract. (Contributed photo)

In short, to save money.

In early January 2012, the Wilmington City Council approved the Wilmington Police Department’s request to purchase 10 Dodge Charger Pursuits from Ilderton Dodge of High Point at a cost of $222,020.

The city purchased the cars from the High Point dealer under a state contract, said Ed Thorpe, the city’s fleet manager. The state of North Carolina accepts bids on vehicles and selects the lowest bidders who meet the specifications, Thorpe said. The state allows municipalities to purchase goods under those contracts.

“To be honest with you, I’d rather buy everything locally, but our first priority is price,” Thorpe said.

In the past, Wilmington-area car dealers have not been able to match the state contract prices because those dealerships are eligible for added incentives from the vehicle manufacturers, Thorpe said.

Wilmington-area dealerships are awarded some state contracts. Capital Ford of Wilmington has received state contracts, especially for trucks, Thorpe said.

But when state contracts are available, city money can go elsewhere.

“We have found that nobody touches state contracts, most of the time,” Thorpe said. “Our main objective is to get the best product for the least amount of money.”

User-contributed question by:
Jim Crawford

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