Armored car business booming in Mexico

Global automakers including Volkswagen’s Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jeep are tapping into this market. Of the 1.5 million cars sold in Mexico in 2017, only a tiny fragment were armored.

In an interesting turn of events, high levels of violent crimes in Mexico is acting as a growth engine for the country’s car-armoring business, with an industry group forecasting bulletproofed vehicles to hit double-digit growth this year.

In 2017, Mexico witnessed its highest annual incidents of murder since recording of such crimes began in the country and 2018 is on track to be even worse.

As per the Mexican Automotive Armor Association (AMBA), it is this insecurity which is pushing up car armoring services this year. In 2017, 15,145 cars were armored in Brazil, and this year this figure is expected to rise by at least 25%.

In fact, demand for armored vehicles is so strong in Mexico that many global automakers have started bulletproofing cars on their own as opposed to the usual practice of after-market armoring.

In mid-2017, Volkswagen’s Audi began making an armored version of its Q5 light sport utility vehicle (SUV) exclusively in Puebla, a Mexican state, for local sale. It also exports this model to Argentina and Brazil.

When asked to comment on its sales figures, Audi declined to do so.

As for its costs, Audi’s Mexico arm disclosed, its more cost effective to factory-armour the Q5, which cost $87,000 locally, than use an after-market firm, which according to industry experts costs more than $95,000 but also voids the factory guarantee.

In recent years, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jeep have also made armored cars in Mexico.

The market for armored cars in Mexico is huge: of the 1.5 million cars sold in Mexico in 2017, only a tiny fragment were armored.

Nearly 80% of armored car providers’ are located in the private sector, while the remainder is with the government.

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