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Mexico: Armored car sales speed up

Sales of armored cars in Mexico were up 10 percent in 2012 from the previous year, according to the Mexican Automotive Armour Association. 

Of a total of 3102 purchases of armored vehicles, 70 percent were made by the private sector and the rest by government, said AMBA president Fernando Echeverri, according to Fox New Latino.

Buyers were looking for amour capable of stopping the rounds fired by the weapons used by criminal organizations, Echeverri reportedly said in a statement, alluding to the drug gangs.

The industry has expanded rapidly in Mexico, where the death toll from the war on drugs jumped to about 11,000 in 2011, Fox wrote.

The armoring of automobiles "is now linked more to issues of public, private and even national safety ... helping us deal with criminals," Echeverri.

An auto shop owner in Mexico told Australia's ABC News in July that:

"I would say in the last four years, the business is up 1,000 percent. It's huge."

A year earlier, Wired magazine profiled a San Antonio, Texas, company that armored cars as saying that Mexico's armored-car industry was now worth $80 million a year and growing at a rate of 10 percent a year.

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Texas Armoring Corporation president Trent Kimball said that while his company didn't sell cars to drug lords, he knew of Mexican cartels that had begun building their own tanks.

However, he said, 20 percent of his clients either lived or work in Mexico and were concerned about a sharp increase in crime and the threat of kidnapping.

Business was so good in the US, meantime, that his company had increased its workforce 30 percent on the previous year. 

According to Carmag.com, while most kidnappings in Mexico are not reported it is accepted that Mexico is second only to Colombia in South America.

The most popular armored vehicles, according to Mexico's AMBA, were Suburban, Grand Cherokee and Tahoe SUVs.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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BC Gov Photos/Flickr

An SUV with an armored rear door, in a Canadian government photo.