A Panic for Bullet Proof Cars in Mexico

A Panic for Bullet Proof Cars in Mexico

If you pay attention to international news, you may have been surprised and pleased when, a few years back, Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels in his country.  As time progressed, and word of increased killing and retaliation by the cartels under siege got out to the rest of the world, your pleasure probably turned to horror.  And each year the death toll gets higher.


Gun Bullet
Gun Rifle Bullet

Of course, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to other conflicts currently operating around the world, but Mexico is a lot closer to home and it’s not too difficult to imagine such a campaign spilling over onto our doorstep.  In any case, it has been a nightmare for many Mexican citizens, especially those that are high profile or have a lot to lose.  So it’s no surprise that armored cars have become big business in the last few years.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon Brazilian President Lula da Silva discussing
Mexican President Felipe Calderon Brazilian President Lula da Silva

There are several government-approved facilities currently operating in Mexico that offer to bullet-proof cars.  Their services don’t come cheap (ranging from about $16,000-75,000 per car), but they have several options for customization.  Bullet-proofing can mean different things to different people.

Mexico military officers on guard
Mexico military officers on guard

Perhaps they are only concerned about being assaulted with a handgun.  Or maybe they’re worried about automatic weapons.  They may even fear an all-out attack from military-level assault rifles.  In each case, there is a level of protection available.  However, it will require a vehicle to be completely stripped down to the frame and rebuilt with sheets of ballistic steel, Kevlar, and bullet-proof glass that can be up to three inches thick.

Mexico police fighting gangs
Mexico police fighting gangs

Not only that, but cars may undergo additional modifications in suspension and even an engine upgrade to function normally with the added weight.  Sadly, customers won’t be buying a SmarTruck-style overhaul (shops won’t install the remote controlled .50 caliber machine guns or RPGs that give these U.S. border-patrol vehicles offensive capabilities in addition to providing defense), and cars won’t come equipped with spy gadgets like the ever-popular oil slick, poison darts, or laser technology. But purveyors of these protective vehicles are willing to add a spray-deterrent system that pumps a noxious cloud of tear gas from the wheel-wells to enshroud the vehicle and fend off would-be attackers.  As an added bonus, technicians in these shops pride themselves on their ability to camouflage the upgrades so that the car that rolls out of the shop looks identical to the one that drove in, regardless of armoring.

Dangerous mexico streets
dangerous mexico streets

Mexican drug war
mexican drug war

And while most of the vehicles that come in for bullet-proofing are in the upper echelon of automobiles (it is mainly luxury cars that make their way in for protective upgrades), a few people have gotten smart by choosing to purchase and enhance older, unobtrusive cars (think family sedans) rather than flashy SUVs, in an attempt to avoid raising interest in the first place (although they will certainly have the protection they need once inside the vehicle).  Unfortunately, it’s probably going to get worse in Mexico before it gets better, with 2010 shaping up to be even bloodier than previous years, but thanks to the efforts of armoring services, citizens with some extra dough and interests to protect have an ace in the hole when it comes to cruising around town.

Armored cars for rich and famous
armored cars for rich and famous

Sarah Danielson is a writer for Online Nursing Programs where you can browse the best online nursing programs in the country.

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  1. That BMW looks great 😀 I could imagine being some rich guy driving that luxury car while in a car chase with drug dealers 😀 (Maybe I watch too many movies).