Add $60,000 in upgrades to the original cost of an SUV, and you may be thinking buttery leather seats, interior doors with rare wood inlays, top-of-the-line sound and navigation equipment and such accoutrements as a wet bar.
In Mexico, the $60,000 additions aren’t about luxury, but preserving lives, as the number of violent deaths stemming from the drug wars has steadily zoomed upward.
Since 2007, more than 30,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related crimes and in 2010 alone the figure topped a new high of 15,000.
To deal with that dangerous climate, the demand for bullet-proof clothing has risen. And well-off Mexicans, including many corporate executives, are shelling out cash to have brand-new vehicles retrofitted with bullet-proof materials that can ward off the spray from assault rifles.
North of the border, one such company, International Armoring Corporation, in Utah, is making a mint retrofitting vehicles with super-strong materials and selling them in Mexico. The Mexican market is typically growing at about 40 percent per year due to the increase in the violence.