An armored car is also known as a civilian armored vehicle. These vehicles are designed to protect the end-users from blasts, bullets, and other potential incoming threats. Civilian armored vehicles are generally manufactured with bulletproof glass and layers of armored protection. The use of this technology is poised to develop a sense of security amongst civilians during adverse conditions. These cars were predominantly used by VIPs and other high profile individuals initially, however, the proliferation of this product amongst the upper-middle-class population has also been increasing.
Most civilian armored vehicles are retrofitted models of commercial vehicles sold within the automotive sector. Several OEMs have now been integrating the features of armored cars from the factory itself. The Audi Security Series is one such popular brand, the models A6 and A8 are civilian armored vehicles. The rising demand for armored vehicles amongst civilians and the growth in disposable income is suggested to be two of the key factors that drive the growth associated with civilian armored vehicles. Leading automotive manufacturers like Armormax have been launching a range of armored cars to meet the growing demand. Players like Land Rover launched the over 2020 units of the Range Rover Sensational fitted with armored glass and a ballistic steel plate in 2019 to meet the growing demand. Other popular models for armored cars include Hyundai Equus, Lincoln Town Car BPS, the Mercedes Benz Guard vehicles (E, ML, GL, G & S Class), BMW Security series (3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and X5 models).
Transportation Sector as one of the key segments in the Civilian Armored Vehicles Market
The transportation of different kinds of goods is expected to be another factor that is poised to bolster the demand for armored vehicles. The bullet-proof Ford Transit Cargo Van is popularly used by marijuana transporters across the US. The vehicle is also popularly used across several dispensaries as well as provision centers. Armored cars were also considered a good option for the transport of COVID-19 vaccines. Thus the demand for armored vehicles is noted to be particularly high within the healthcare domain. The rapidly growing production of vaccines and their increased rate of distribution amongst the population is considered to be one of the key growth factors for armored vehicles within the logistics domain.
Bulletproof cars are also used commonly in the transportation of precious metals and other valuables. A significant hike in the usage of civilian armored vehicles has been witnessed to aid logistics. SUVs, sedans, and cash-in transport vehicles are some of the base automobiles which are retrofitted to obtain armored vehicles. Armored vehicles can also be segmented based on mobility into wheeled and tracked vehicles based on application. However, it is noticed that civilian armored vehicles are commonly wheeled in nature.
Protection Levels and Cost associated with Civilian Armored Vehicles
Civilian armored vehicles include features like wrapped passenger compartments with ballistic reinforcements around the body of the vehicle. The doors and pillars are generally composed of galvanized steel plates with a combination of composites. Ballistic fabric lining is used to cover the floor as well as the ceiling of the vehicle. Some models also make use of composite run-flat tires. The objective of this remodeling is to attain a maximum level of protection.
Commercial Armored vehicles are rated using two key international standards, i.e. American Standard (NIJ Standard 0108) and Euronorm Standard. The Euronorm standard of classification bifurcates the levels of protection by B3, B4, B6, and B7. Vehicle conformity to B3 and B4 standards suggests that the vehicle protects against incoming threats from handguns with a caliber of up to 0.44 Magnums. B6 and B7 levels of protection offer protection against 30.06 Armor Piercing (AP), and hand grenades. Both, B6 and B7 levels of protection are mostly provided by commercial armored vehicles built from hardened steel coated with strong synthetic fibers.
The cost of the commercial armored vehicle also varies with the type as well as the level of protection. An OEM that manufactures a B6 rating commercial armored vehicle marks up the price by roughly USD 1.3 Million as compared to a conventional model. Contrarily, retrofit manufacturers offer the same model at USD 50,000 in addition to the cost of the base vehicle.
Market Dynamics for Civilian Armored Vehicles
Another key driver for the market is noted to be an increase in the percentage of high net worth individuals across the global markets. The increased growth rate associated with developing economies is also a factor that is poised to accelerate the adoption of high-end vehicles like civilian armored cars. On studying the overall market stance, it is noted that the number of ultra-high net worth individuals in India increased by a value of 9.3% between 2021 and 2022. The increased growth rate suggests an overall increase in earning capability and spending potential amongst the Indian population. A 70% increase in civilian armored vehicle sales was noted between 2004 and 2014. The sales volume recorded for the year 2014 was noted to be 28,000 units, i.e. roughly 18% higher as compared to the year 2013.