The growing global trend: Bulletproof cars

Bulletproof cars are becoming more appealing to motorists around the world as people search out ways to protect themselves against increasing violence.  Here in South Africa, you can now bulletproof your car by installing armour for windows, doors, and rear seats, which will cost at least 30% of the value of your car, depending on the level of protection.

In November last year, South African company Armormax made headlines when it became the first in the world to armour a Jaguar I-Pace. Since Armormax is an approved armourer for Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, the bulletproofing did not interfere with the standard warranty and maintenance plan.

The Randburg-based vehicle armourer also offers two levels of armouring for the Landrover Defender, B4 or B6, at a cost of more than R1.5million.

Highly specialised material is used to bulletproof a car. The glass for the bullet-proofing is imported from South America, the steel is manufactured in Sweden and the composite materials come from various other parts of the world. The bullet-resistant transparent armour glass contains multiple layers of leaded glass and sheets of polycarbonate, and is made by Panama-based firm, Optima Ballistic Glass.

  • B4, which protects against handguns up to the .44 Magnum
  • B6, which protects against high-powered rifles like the R5 and AK47

The equipment used for the modifications to bulletproof a car differs significantly based on the level of protection.

Armouring can either be retro-fitted to vehicles or purchased directly from the manufacturer. Motorists can expect to pay as much as 30% more than the vehicle price for bulletproofing, depending on the car and level of armouring.

B4-level protection could add more than R450,000 to a double cab bakkie, while B6 could cost an additional R700,000.

This is, however, only part of the expense.

The vehicle itself must be altered to cope with the weight of bulletproof glass and armour plating. Bulletproofing material can weigh up to a ton, and this additional weight on your car requires suspension upgrades, improved brakes, and structural modifications.

The most popular vehicles which are modified are double cab bakkies and luxury SUVs for corporate clients. After the vehicle is converted into an armoured car it still looks like a standard bakkie or SUV, but with additional protection.

Would you bulletproof your car? Leave us your thoughts in our social media comments section.


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