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Kerr Industries: Link Between GM and Local Upfitters

Kerr Industries is a Tier 1 supplier to General Motors (GM) for all its police vehicle programs; they help them design, build and service the Impala, Tahoe and Caprice police vehicles.

They have plants in Oshawa, Ontario; Arlington, Texas; and Benicia, Calif. Kerr works in conjunction with GM to design, validate and engineer each “special equipment option” (SEO).

All Chevrolet police vehicles flow through one of Kerr’s assembly facilities, so there is no need for additional ship-through codes or delays in having vehicles upfitted. If departments already have purchase agreements in place with equipment manufacturers or want to reuse old equipment, Kerr can install their supplied equipment. They can even test and repair old equipment prior to installation.

When the vehicle is ordered by the dealer and sold to the customer, it is done so under the GM label. Often the customer is not aware the additional options were not installed in a GM assembly plant. With their second-stage process, Kerr Industries becomes an extension of the automobile manufacturer.

Kerr Industries' installations for the Caprice, Tahoe, Impala, Suburban, and Silverado include push bumpers, skid plates, partitions, lightbars, corner and mirror LEDs, grille and deck lights, sirens, equipment trays, consoles and prisoner seats. Their specialties, however, are the earliest stages of the upfit—the installations that are the most difficult and time consuming for the local upfitter to do.

Kerr can make the installation of equipment easier for the upfitter without undermining the business of the local upfitter. They can add a few basic, pre-upfit parts to the vehicle to allow the local upfitter to do a high quality job—an upfit that takes advantage of the design and engineering that went into the Chevy in the first place.

One example is installing Kerr’s own Front & Rear Power Distribution, which includes fuses and wiring for a fast and easy, plug and play upfit. They don’t need to get involved with lightbars or sirens, the local upfitter can do that. They just make it easier and faster for the upfit to be complete.

Another example is the Console Mounting Platform. One is available now from Kerr Industries and is under the development and approval process to be a GM Special Equipment Option. Again, Kerr is not necessarily in the business of making consoles. Instead, they are in the business of making it quick and easy to integrate the console and other aftermarket gear in GM Fleet vehicles.

Because Kerr is a Tier 1 supplier to GM, they maintain FMVSS/ CMVSS compliance; their wiring is labeled and consistent vehicle to vehicle, year to year. Kerr provides wiring diagrams specific to each fleet and can provide on-site training to techs or suppliers that require it.

Kerr has a complete engineering staff with in-depth knowledge of Chevrolet police vehicles. They also have a vast amount of experience installing and integrating a lot of different types and makes of police and emergency warning equipment into Chevrolet vehicles.

Jennifer Gavigan has been writing about cutting-edge topics in the field of law enforcement for

LAW and ORDER for more than eight years. She can be reached at

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jul/Aug 2011

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