Out of control violence in Mexico has sparked a record increase in the country’s armored-car business, Reuters reports. Mexico recorded more than 25,000 murders by EOY 2017, the highest number “since modern records began,” with 2018 projections to be far worse than expected.
As a result of the violence across all 31 states, the Mexican Automotive Armor Association (AMBA), expects a 10 percent spike in car-armoring services this year to 3,284 cars, surging above the previous all-time high in 2012.
Reuters describes Mexican demand for car-armoring services as “small” relative to the 15,145 cars armored in Brazil, during FY’17. Reuters believes a 25 percent spike in demand for these unique cars in Brazil could be seen this year, as the country’s currency is in free-fall.
As Latin America implodes, car-armoring services have never been stronger.
While demand for armored cars has soared in recent years, global automakers have taken notice and started bulletproofing vehicles on their Mexican production lines to capture more revenue that would otherwise be going to after-market armoring shops, explained Reuters.
Back in 4Q16, Audi identified Mexico and South America as a pilot market for offering the Q5 armored vehicle. The Audi Q5 Security is the world’s first SUV in the segment to be offered in an armored version from the factory. The automaker uses certified NiJ III-A class of ABNT NBR 15000 protective parts in the Q5 that is widely used in South America. That means the Q5 can resist attacks by handguns up to 44-magnum in caliber and thereby protects its passengers.
BMW, Jeep, and Mercedes-Benz have also recognized the need to offer armored cars in Mexico and other Latin American countries.
In particular, the BMW X5 has a range of three different levels of protection to increase its appeal to the Mexican market.
VIDEO: BULLETPROOF BMW X5 SECURITY PLUS SUV UNVEILED
After being attacked in recent years, Arturo Avila, who owns a private security firm, now travels in armored cars through the streets of Mexico City.
“One of the crimes that hurts us most is kidnapping, that’s what we’re afraid of,” he said, adding he changed his car every two years.
“About 1.5 million cars were sold in Mexico in 2017, but just a tiny portion were armored, since the cars remain a luxury for the affluent and for companies that require executives to travel in bulletproof vehicles with bodyguards,” Avila added.
The popularity of armored vehicles is soaring through all 31 states of Mexico, but still represents a small percentage of overall cars sold in the country. Demand for these special vehicles comes from large corporations and the wealthy, who are often targets by cartel gangs. Armored car providers are turning to rental and leasing agreements to make these vehicles more affordable, Reuters added.
Leading up to the Mexican presidential election this Sunday, about 113 politicians or candidates have been killed since September 2017. More than 1,000 candidates have dropped out of local races because they feared being gunned down. With cartel gang wars and out of control murders in Mexico, we believe the armored car industry is just starting to flourish in North and South America.
As global automakers now realize that there is money to be made in bulletproofing a car, it is only a matter of time before these cars hit the streets of the United States.