Driving Mr. Obama: ‘Beast’ Retiring — Audi Out, Tesla Interested?

Photograph by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Marine One helicopter, carrying President Barack Obama, prepares to land next to the Presidential limousine, known as ‘The Beast,’ at the Wall Street landing zone in New York City on March 11, 2014.

Audi need not apply.

But Fiat-owned Chrysler is said to be interested.

That armored Caddy — really a truck in limo clothing — that moves the president around is getting on in age. Actually, it’s a fleet of armored cars, as two are required for any given motorcade, and often multiple ‘cades are operating on any given domestic or foreign excursion. Time for a new fleet.

When the latest presidential limo, known as “The Beast,” entered service in 2008, “it represented the very state of the art (if not the union) in executive protection,” our friends at AutoBlog note. “But that was over five years ago – longer than the previous Cadillac DTS presidential limousine was in service – and considering that it’s widely believed to be riding on a truck chassis and weigh as much as a tank, that’s a long time to keep it running. ”

This is not to be confused with this service:

The Secret Service is going out for bids, they report, with for “four phases of development: the first is developing the armor, the second is the integration of said armor into the vehicle, the third on validation and testing, and the fourth on production.”

Only American automakers need apply.

Chrysler is confirmed to be working on its proposal (assuming it’s still based in the United States by then), and you can bet that General Motors, which has built the president’s Cadillac limousines for the past three decades, will be vying to keep it in house,” Autoblog’s Noah Joseph writes.

He raises another possibility that should get Elon Musk’s attention:

“We can’t help but wonder if some smaller outfits like AM General or even Tesla might be in the game as well. President Obama has, after all, called for an electric-powered limousine, but that’s something the Secret Service was not prepared to provide… at least, not at the time.”

Then again, the way these contracts and government agencies work, Obama will likely be long gone from the White House before the next Beast rolls up the driveway of the South Lawn.

Maybe this one?:

 

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