Luxury car

What do foreign despots and Main Street America soccer moms have in common?

They both want the safest cars on the road, and that’s why boutique auto shops providing bulletproof vehicles are shifting into high gear. Earlier this summer, a British company made international headlines for its custom modified luxury automobiles. The company’s mechanics take luxury automobiles and add safety features like bulletproof windows and wheels, armor plating, and high-tech security systems. While the final products aren’t quite Bond-worthy, they are impressive enough to inspire imitators the world over.

Now, a Canadian company is earning headlines for its own bulletproof luxury automobile service. The company specializes in the Knight XV, which stands for Extreme Vehicle. And extreme it is; the luxury automobile weighs twice as much as a hummer and can reportedly deflect AK-47 rounds. And auto brokers say companies like this are attracting a diverse customer base.

Some are foreign motorists genuinely worried about their safety. Then there’s celebrities looking for the ultimate shield from paparazzi and overeager fans. Throw in exotic car collectors, business people looking for a status symbol, and anxious parents searching for the ultimate in safety features, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a booming luxury car shop.

Nicholas Maronese is a luxury automobile expert with Canadian website Autofocus.ca, and he seems surprised Canada has become a hub for the niche business.

“Internationally we seem to be a relatively big player. That’s the odd part,” Maronese says. “They are niche vehicles. They’re not mainstream vehicles, but they’re also big money of course, too, which is the thing that makes them kind of important.”

Maronese says Canadian luxury armored vehicle companies face the biggest competition from Middle Eastern companies, but that for now Canada remains one of the biggest providers of armored luxury automobiles.

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