General Motors Corp. is trying to regain a share of the market for police cars, hoping its 2000-model Chevrolet Impala can give Ford Motor Co. a run for its money.

But it may take some time before law enforcement agencies adjust to the new, front-wheel-drive sedan.

GM is stepping up its marketing of the Impala to police departments across the country. Wiley said the vehicle was "designed for law enforcement from concept."

Reports estimate that the police car fleet business amounts to be about 75,000 to 80,000 vehicles, including cruisers and support transports.

GM, the nation's No. 1 automaker, lost its place in the segment when it retired the rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet Caprice in 1996. In 1994, GM sold more than 31,000 units, mostly for police use.

Ford stepped in with its Crown Victoria, a rear-wheel-drive sedan marketed as the Police Interceptor. The vehicle is the market leader, with Ford expected to produce 61,000 units this year.