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In South Africa, the increase in armed vehicle attacks is driving the armored car market forward. A major American automaker has even partnered with a shielding company to offer its customers secure models. Romain Chanson visited the garage of this company in the north of Pretoria, the South African capital where these vehicles are armored.
From our correspondent,
An AK-47 in his hands, the director of the company shoots at a metal plate. The boss of SVI wants to demonstrate the resistance of his materials to a client. The client is Bradford Wood, an employee of a security company. Recently, one of his colleagues was the target of an attack.
« One of the vehicles received 42 AK-47 bullets here in Pretoria, says Bradford Wood. They attacked a pick-up truck carrying cell phones and electronic equipment. You know, here in South Africa it’s like a battleground, people get killed just for their cell phones. They point at you and shoot you to steal the car. »
South African police counted 18,000 car robberies in 2020. An increase of 70% in 10 years. Count around 20,000 euros for a light and discreet armor on a pick-up, in addition to the price of the car. Despite very high prices, the market is on the rise.
« If you can afford the armor, why not afford an extra degree of security? s‘asks Nicol Louw, sales manager. For personalities, businessmen. If you have to go back and forth to the bank to deposit money, you need an armored vehicle. So, yes, we are seeing an increase in sales of vehicles with discreet armor for individuals, but the real boom is coming from the private security market. »
Nicol Louw takes us for a ride in a 2018 German diesel powered car. Lightweight, inconspicuous armor has been added. ” The car is very manoeuvrable because with this armor we only add 250 kg, he explains. It’s easy to drive, you also notice that it’s very quiet because the shielding also acts as an insulator against outside noise. »
The SVI company is not the only one to manufacture armored cars in South Africa, but the supply is still limited. Not for long, foresees Jaco De Kock, the boss of SVI: ” We export to Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, pretty much every country in southern Africa. This business remains a niche, but I think Africa can do great things and in the future we risk having competition on the continent. »
SVI has already produced more than 2,500 armored vehicles. As long as crime statistics are on the rise, the market will flourish.