South Africans are taking their interest in safety to the next level.
SOUTH Africans are becoming more and more passionate about safety. While they now view safety features such as ABS as a given in the cars, they are taking their interest in safety to the next level. And they’re searching for armoured cars – despite the fact that they can carry a somewhat hefty price tag.
This is reflected in the fact that armoured cars currently rank third in the most searched keywords on AutoTrader. AutoTrader is the largest digital automotive marketplace in South Africa. Accordingly, it provides unparalleled insight into car-buying patterns in the country.
According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, the most popular keyword in September was “sunroof”, followed by “classic” and then “armoured”.
“Armoured cars are popular all over the world and the same applies to South Africa. They are readily available here too,” he reveals.
According to Michael Broom, general manager of MMI Armoured Cars (one of the country’s largest suppliers of armoured luxury cars), the local market for these vehicles is growing.
“There has been steady growth over the last three years though as potential owners have become more informed, vehicle choice has expanded, and we have largely managed to keep the costs the same. We estimate that, in the luxury market, 120 to 150 new armoured cars are currently sold or converted annually in South Africa,” he notes.
While budget cars are hardly ever armoured (the cost of armouring far exceeds the base value of the vehicle) and sports cars and convertibles are not suited to armouring, the most popular vehicles for armouring in South Africa are SUVs. And, according to AutoTrader statistics, the top three makes listed with “armoured” as a feature are BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.
According to Broom, it typically costs anything from R580,000 to R1,600,000 to armour a car. “For custom work or a bespoke build, the sky is the limit,” he points out.