How much it costs to ‘bullet-proof’ your car in South Africa

Data from vehicle tracking group, Tracker, shows that South African hijacking are becoming increasingly violent.

According to Tracker’s records, over the past year, an average of 18 customers a month experienced physical injury during a hijacking, through being shot, stabbed or assaulted. One in ten of these incidents proved fatal, the group said.

“Criminals are also increasingly taking hostages during hijackings and Tracker has noted that on average that 27% of our activations result in a hostage being taken,” it said.

Speaking to BusinessTech, Grant Anderson MD of Armormax – a  manufacturer of civilian armoured vehicles – pointed to a steady upward trajectory in sales for armoured vehicles in the country.

“This has been driven to a large extent by the continued level of violent crime prevalent in our society.”

“We have saved 19 lives that we are aware of, in attacks on our vehicles in SA. The majority of these in hijackings where the assailant pulled the trigger which is a scary statistic given that we are a bespoke manufacturer of luxury armoured vehicles and don’t have thousands of vehicles on the road.”


Protection

Armormax has broken down the numerous US and European standards for ballistic levels and settled on Level B4 (protection against high powered handgun rounds) and Level B6 ( Protection against the most common assault rifles found in SA like the R4/5 ,AK 47 and R1/FN) for the South African market.

“Most hijackings are still committed with handguns as they are easy to conceal, and for this level of threat a B4 is ideal,” Anderson said.

“In terms of costs, we don’t differentiate between vehicle models, but by ballistic levels.

“Our base level B4 build starts at R550,000 and our B6 at R1,500,000 (compared with an average cost of in excess of R10 million for a Level B6 from one of the OEM manufacturers.)

“Our vehicles are amongst the lightest armoured vehicles found globally, with an average added weight of 180 kgs on a B4, and 500Kgs for a B6 (compared to 1800 kgs on some of the OEM builds).”

According to Armormax’s website a level B4 upgrade will see engineers armour critical areas of the passenger cabin.

“We replace all the glass with ballistic glass, integrate armour into the four doors, A.B and C pillars as well as the rear seats or boot divider, thus providing around 90% of the protection for a lot less than the cost of a manufacturer B4 level armoured vehicle,” it said.

“As a client you can choose to armour any additional areas you feel are necessary on your vehicle (eg the roof in a sedan).

“When we armour a vehicle to a level B6 we create a complete cocoon, including floor, roof, firewalls, engine bay protection etc.”


Common models

According to Anderson, these are the vehicles most commonly armoured.

  • Toyota / Lexus: Toyota Land Cruiser 200,/ Lexus LX 570, Land Cruiser 78/79, Lexus LS, Lexus GS, Prado, Hilux D/Cab,
  • Land Rover: Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Vogue, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Defender
  • Volvo: XC 90, S 80
  • VW: Touareg, Amarok, Caravelle, Gti
  • Audi: Q7, A8, A6, A4
  • BMW: Three Series, Five Series, Seven Series,X5,X6
  • Chrysler: Jeep Cherokee and derivatives
  • Mercedes: S Class, E class, C class, Vito, ML, GL , G Wagon
  • Nissan: Patrol, Navara
  • Infiniti: FX, QX
  • Mitsubishi: Pajero
  • Porsche: Cayenne

Read: Jaguar has launched an electric car charging network in South Africa – here’s how it works

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How much it costs to ‘bullet-proof’ your car in South Africa