Mexico’s rich are demanding more armored luxury cars than ever before in response to record high rates of violent crime, Reuters reported Monday.
Mexico set an all-time record with more than 25,000 murders in 2017, and 2018 could be even bloodier. The Mexican Automotive Armor Association, an industry group in the country, estimates a 10 percent rise in production this year, coming in at a grand total of 3,284 armored cars.
The market for these armored cars is limited to Mexico’s elite, who are often the target of attacks. Increased security is common among the affluent and large multinational companies that transport their executives with high levels of security. The wealthy commonly cite a risk of robbery, assault, and kidnapping.
There is evidence that criminals in Mexico target “newer and larger vehicles” while attempting carjacking and highway robberies, according to a travel warning issued by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security in 2017. The report also cites gun battles between criminal organizations and the police in public in broad daylight.
Some automakers like Audi, BMW, Jeep and Mercedes have begun producing armored cars on their Mexican factory lines. Often, the armored cars made en masse are cheaper to the consumer than hiring a private firm to retrofit the vehicle after purchase. Despite this increase in demand, armored cars come with a hefty price tag. It’s estimated that Audi’s armored Q5 will cost upwards of $85,000.
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