STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Bulletproof Profit Center - BodyShop Business
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STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Bulletproof Profit Center

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Ongoing drug-related violence near the Mexico-U.S. border has created a unique niche market for vehicle customizations, and the add-ons are more protective than pretty.

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USA Today reported that near the border, adding armor and protective devices to vehicles is becoming a booming business, moving beyond the limousines of the rich and famous to the sedans, SUVs and pickups of businesspeople. Violence related to the drug trade has made people increasingly nervous about crossing the border, but many must make the trek on a regular basis because of job requirements.

Armoring a vehicle can cost between $80,000 and $100,000, and the add-ons go beyond typical armor plating and bulletproof glass. Tires that function when flat, push-button dispensers that release everything from smoke clouds to road spikes, and electrified door handles that emit non-lethal shocks are all part of the defense systems becoming increasingly in-demand for escaping violent attacks that range from robbery and kidnapping to murder attempts.

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A San Antonio company specializing in vehicle armor told USA Today it expects a 50-percent increase in business this year.

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