CNN Money Interview
CNN: Are armored vehicles getting more high end? Is this a growing niche?
IAC: The segment of high-end vehicles is a smaller percentage of the overall demand for armored passenger vehicles – always has been that way. The segment of high-end armored vehicles has, however, been growing significantly in the last 3 years.
IAC: Absolutely. We have done Aston Martin – DB9 and Rapide, Maybachs, a Ferrari, multiple high conversions on Range Rovers, luxury 45′ passenger buses, etc. We even armored and customized a Hummer with a falcon mount on the roof with a large sunroof and seat that raised through the roofCNN: Do customers prefer certain types of vehicles over others (SUVs? Mercedes? Etc)?
IAC: Hottest cars: Mercedes G-wagons, Mercedes GL, Lexus LX570 SUV, Converted Sprinters and EscaladesCNN: Why do they have these preferences?
IAC: Versatility and they handle weight very wellCNN: What kinds of clients buy high-end armored vehicles? What do they use them for? Where do they use them?
IAC: Foreign politicians, business executives, sports figures, religious leaders, wealthy prominent figures, etc. They use them daily for transportation needs. Most are being used in foreign countries where threats are prevalent – – kidnappings, random acts of violence, assassinations, etc.CNN: How many total vehicles do you sell in a single year?
IAC: Average 350 – 400 various armoring packages worldwide over the last 20 years though during a few years when conflicts around word are high we have done many more (Iraq conflict 2004: 1,900 units including 1,500 plus Hummers and 3 years ago an International Security company ordered over 800 vehicles alone
CNN: How many of those are considered high-end/customized/bespoke?
IAC: Average year 20 – 25%
CNN: What kinds of new demands do clients have for high-end armored cars?
IAC: Door hinge pyrotechnic, Night vision cameras mounted, concealed gun ports, concealed dual ram bumpers, 360 degree cameras, lighter weight armoring packages, Tear gas dispensers, satellite tracking and communications, electrified door handles
CNN: Are you seeing more competition in this market?
IAC: Absolutely. Certifications and quality and integrity of armoring package is a large concern.
CNN: Is all the data current for 2015? Where did you get the fact that 100,000 armored vehicles are currently in use worldwide?
IAC: Yes. Exact figures are difficult to compile but based on those in the industry and their estimates about 25,000 armored vehicles are produced each year, including civilian (passenger), commercial (Cash in transit (CIT) – 30,000 in use in U.S. alone), municipal (Police, Service, etc.) and military (APC’s, hummers, etc.). The average life is 10 years civilian and 6 years for the others. 100,000 is a more than reasonable estimate.
CNN: How many employees do you have?
IAC: Worldwide we have over 100+ employees