Almost three-quarters of bulletproofing work is done in São Paulo state, and most of the country’s 150,000 armoured vehicles are also in the state, according to bulletproofing association Abrablin.
Neither Abrablin nor the used car sellers’ body Fenauto keeps track of second-hand armored sales. But industry experts say it is a real trend in Brazil.
“This year, the used car market is hot,” said Fabio Rovedo de Mello, director of a São Paulo-based bulletproofing company. “Because of the situation the country is going through, the demand for used cars has gone up.”
Sales of new cars in general plummeted to a 10-year low in 2016 in Brazil. The niche market in new armored cars mirrored the trend, dropping 20 percent last year, compared to 2016.
“When the new market doesn’t sell, there’s higher demand for used cars, because a person can’t afford to buy a new one,” said Abrablin president Marcelo Christiansen, who also heads up a bulletproofing firm.
“Armored cars are a lot more expensive, so the option was to go for a used car that fell within my budget,” said Eliane Wakatsuki, 39, a manager at a hydroelectric firm, who was test-driving a used Mercedes Benz GLA 200 at a luxury bulletproofing outfit.