The automotive armor industry in Mexico has gone from being an exclusive privilege of the police to achieving sales growth among consumers of the wealthy classes.
Here's why the armored vehicles sector is up by 23%
This type of manufacturing arrived in the country in 1973, as part of an exclusive tactical reinforcement for police patrols.
In 1995, private vehicles began to be shielded and currently it is a market that is climbing at a good pace: between 2017 and 2018, the activity grew 23%, according to data from the Mexican Association of Automotive Armor (AMBA).
This trend reflects "the complex security conditions that are experienced in the country," but also shows "the good technical performance" of the sector, considers Mauricio Garibaldi, commercial director of WBA Blindajes, a company that has a presence in Mexico, Germany, and Brazil.
However, there are macroeconomic factors that can slow down this dynamism, he adds. One of the most important is that vehicles are sold in dollars and with the current parity, companies begin to feel the damage.
Some of the materials needed to protect a car, such as an aramid fiber (or kevlar) and die-cut steel, are imported from Canada, Germany, and Sweden.
"Although the price of the armor has come down, as it is related to the exchange rate, costs have gone up. That's why prices rise and our profitability decreases, "he emphasizes.
In Mexico, armored cars of three categories are usually sold. The main one is level three, which concentrates 70% of sales and which on average costs about $ 32,000.
This type of armor protects the driver from firing a Magnum .44 pistol, the most powerful among the small arms, and adds an average additional weight of 420 to 460 kilograms to the vehicle.
Meanwhile, level four provides protection against long weapons and adds 720 kilos to the car, on average, for a cost of 50 thousand dollars.
And level five and six cars withstand attacks of explosives, grenades and even penetrating armor-piercing projectiles. They can weigh up to 1.2 tons and cost more than 72 thousand dollars.