As insecurity levels go up, motor vehicle dealers are offering the Kenya rich a safer ride, shielding them from terrorists and car jackers.
For at least Sh10 million, one is able to travel in second-hand armoured vehicles able to withstand handheld grenades and bullets.
Toyotsu Auto Mart Kenya, a second-hand car dealer located in South C, has started mass selling of its bullet-proof Landcruiser VX 100s, as demand grows.
“People are worried about their safety and this is pushing demand for armoured cars up,” said Toyotsu’s managing director Daisuke Toyooka.
Toyotsu Auto Mart Kenya is a subsidiary of Toyota Kenya.
The auto-dealer is targeting to sell 140 cars by the end of the year, with the least retailing at Sh10 million.
Previously, armoured vehicles were brought only in by pre-ordering.
The Landcruiser is encased with ballistic steel and glass which can withstand a barrage of bullets from an AK 47 rifle, a 9mm pistol or two hand grenades.
The VX — a vehicle that is predominant with the wealthy due to its comfort and classy features — has been transformed into a rolling concrete to withstand such attacks.
This means upgrading of the normal Landcruiser and encasing it with B6 armour — the highest level of protective shield for a civilian.
Toyotsu is also selling VX 200s variant, and will consider introducing armoured Cash-In-Transit (CIT), prison and police cars, border patrol and normal cars bearing Toyota chassis.
Its 18-inch tyres are fitted — inside — with run-flat tyre inserts which allow the car to go for another 50km at 50km per hour when shot at or blasted.
The Landcruiser VX 100s becomes immobilised if it is torn apart by shrapnel or any explosive device.
You can shoot the glass continuously with an AK 47 rifle or the .9mm handgun and nothing will go through. The feature is used on side windows and the windshield.
The normal window is 5mm thick. It does not act as a deterrent to any form of bullet ejected from a pistol.
Due to its heaviness, the window does not roll down — unless specified. The intercom allows the driver to communicate with somebody on the outside comfortably.
This is through a microphone and loudspeaker inserted in the car’s side mirror.
The intercom also allows the occupant to press an ear-jarring alarm that may startle an aggressive intruder.
Windows easily roll up and down on a normal VX, hence no need for this feature.
This is a 6.5mm ballistic sheet that will prevent any angle side shots from penetrating the vehicle.
A normal car’s door overlap is made of plastic or rubber and does not prevent bullets from piercing it.
The belly of the car has been cased with a B6 ballistic sheet that prevents important equipment — like the fuel tank — from catching fire in the case of a blast.
The normal VX has a sheet underneath to prevent grazing of the bowel when offroad, but this is not strong enough to withstand a blast.
The car is surrounded by a ballistic sheet that also protects its engine control unit, battery, sides and the roof.
Because of the heavy additional parts on its body, the armoured VX is upgraded with heavy duty suspension and brakes to withstand the weight.
Also the door hinges and the AB and C pillars are reinforced.
The normal weight of a VX is 2.3 tonnes while the armoured one weighs at around 4.5 tonnes.