Here’s how much it costs to buy an armoured vehicle in South Africa

Published Feb 15, 2024


If you don’t feel safe on South Africa’s roads, you are not alone.

Hijackings were up 8% in 2023 alone, according to Stats SA, and the news seems to be flooded with political and business-related assassinations.

Regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a target, the prospect of owning an armour-protected car or bakkie is surely becoming more attractive by the day.

But how much does it really cost to buy an armoured vehicle in South Africa? We took a look at the product offerings from three of the country’s most prominent armoured mobility companies.

The detailed answer, of course, depends very much on what level of protection you’re seeking. But the bad news is that even the most affordable solutions are not priced within the reach of ordinary South Africans.

A “discreet” armoured package from SVI or Armoured Mobility will generally cost you upwards of R500,000, excluding the donor vehicle. Smaller or cheaper vehicles usually cannot be converted due to the weight implications, so your average donor vehicle is usually a larger bakkie or SUV.

But before we get too caught up in the cost comparisons, let’s first take a look at the different levels of protection on offer.

Choose your armour: B4 or B6

The armoured vehicle companies offer two basic levels of protection: B4 and B6.

B4 armouring protects against most handguns, including a 9mm and 44 Magnum. B6 takes things to a far more serious level, with protection against almost any weapon, including AK47s, R1 assault rifles and sniper rifles.

Most bakkies are available with B4 or B6 protection.

That’s the gist of it, but be sure to speak to your chosen vehicle builder in detail about the exact level of protection offered by each package.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that handguns are generally used in hijackings, so B4 is likely the best solution for the ordinary citizen seeking protection from crime and possible riots.

But if, for whatever reason, you feel you have a target on your back, then a B6 package is the obvious choice.

How discreet do you want to be?

Next up, you’ll need to choose whether you want a discreet or non-discreet package.

Most B4 packages are discreet, as they’re aimed at ordinary civilians, but with B6 you usually have a choice, and there’s a huge price difference.

For instance, SVI offers a B6 Stopgun V2.0 package for as little as R281,231 for single cab one-tonne bakkies and R402,150 for double cabs. That’s a R143,000 saving over discreet on the latter.

However, with their split windscreens and unique door panels, your beloved bakkie will ultimately resemble a cash-in-transit van. Not a great idea if you want to avoid attracting attention. These non-discreet packages are popular with commercial users such as security companies, and for good reason.

How much does an armoured car cost in South Africa?

Among the most affordable discreet options is Armoured Mobility’s Chery Tiggo 8 Pro, which is priced at around R1.3 million, including the vehicle.

The firm offers a range of bakkies, SUVs and MPVs, with the most premium being a B6 Armoured Mercedes-Benz V-Class luxury bus coming in at R4.3 million.

As mentioned, SVI sells their packages separately to the vehicle, and for a discreet bakkie, you’re looking at R545,121 for a B4 package, and R825,681 for a B6, excluding VAT.

Thus, if you supply them with a more affordable double cab, such as a Ford Ranger XL, you’re looking at a total bill of around R1.1 million. But if your weapon of choice, excuse the pun, is something like a Hilux Legend RS or Ranger Wildtrak V6, then you’re looking at upwards of R1.55 million.

ALSO READ: SVI launches armoured packages for new Ford Ranger.

Apart from the aforementioned bakkies, SVI also offers conversions for the Nissan Navara and Volkswagen Amarok.

In addition SVI offers B4 and B6 packages for medium-sized SUVs, such as the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest, with the B4s starting at R630,000, minus the car.

The Pretoria-based firm also converts large ladder-frame SUVs such as the popular Toyota Land Cruiser 300, with the B4 discreet priced from R833,684 and the B6 discreet listed at R1,145,199, both excluding VAT. To that, you’ll have to add the price of the donor vehicle, which starts at R1,458,900.

MMI Armoured Cars also offers a selection of luxury SUVs and bakkies, most starting beyond the R2 million mark, including the vehicle, but the firm does offer a very interesting option for those seeking a hot hatch. It currently has a B4 protected Volkswagen Golf GTI listed at R1.89 million.

Be prepared for hefty fuel bills

Another factor that you need to take into consideration is weaker performance and increased fuel consumption. That bullet-resistant glass and all the reinforcement that goes into the body panels is heavy - it has to stop bullets after all!

Of course the weight penalty is not as bad with the B4 packages, with Armoured Mobility estimating an addition of 110kg to 140kg on its smallest B4 packages, while B6 can add 450kg to 600kg, while also necessitating suspension modifications.

MMI’s Golf GTI is weighed down to the tune of 180kg.

SVI estimates a weight penalty of around 280kg for its B4 equipped double cab bakkies, with B6 products usually adding 650kg. In the latter case, items like suspension and even door hinges need to be modified to cope with the additional weight.

While SVI’s products appear heavier than the competition, the company claims this is due to superior materials and more widespread protection in its vehicles.

There is also a waiting period for these armoured vehicles. Armoured Mobility estimates a build-time of around six to eight weeks for a B4 product and eight to 10 weeks for a B6. SVI says its customers can expect a wait of around three months for a B4 or B6 build.

Of course warranties could also be affected, depending on the service provider and brand concerned. SVI-built Ford Ranger and Everest products and Mercedes V-Class models, for instance, retain their manufacturer backing, as they are officially approved by the respective OEMs.

In Armoured Mobility’s case, the Chery Tiggo 8 is sourced through the company’s dealer partner and retains its full manufacturer warranty.

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