Business Booms for Bullet-proof Car Company in San Antonio, Texas

by Deborah Knapp KENS 5
Posted on November 3, 2010 at 10:05 PM

SAN ANTONIO — Drug violence in Mexico has business booming for a San Antonio company.

Texas Armoring Corporation is turning out bullet-proof vehicles as fast as it can, and it’s nowhere near fast enough.

Now they are adding something new, older vehicles.

Inside the TAC workshop, a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer is being transformed. While on the outside it looks like your everyday vehicle, inside it’s being stripped down and refitted with steel armor and bullet-proof glass.

When it hits the road no one will suspect it is a rolling fortress.

“For the first time ever, we’re doing low key, low profile vehicles. People in Mexico don’t want to draw attention to themselves, they want to blend in,” explained Texas Armoring Corporation president and CEO, Trent Kimball.

Right now his garage is full of vehicles heading to Mexico where innocent people are caught in the crossfire of drug cartel violence.

“We are getting requests for armored cars from everyday businessmen, doctors lawyers. They’re concerned for their lives and for their families,” said Texas Armoring Corporation executive vice president, Jason Forston.

For 30 years Texas Armoring Corporation has been bullet proofing brand new luxury vehicles, but suddenly that has changed.

“This year alone we’ve done a Nissan Maxima, a Toyota Camry, those types of vehicles. We’re also armoring used vehicles like this 2001 Ford Excursion. It’s just old and kinda beat up. They want it to blend in,” said Kimball.

They want a vehicle that will blend in and withstand rounds from an AK 47. Two-inch thick glass windows help to protect anyone inside the vehicles lined with steel.

People are buying up protection.

“He probably spent ,000 to ,000 on this Ford Excursion, and now he’s going to add ,000 worth of armor to it,” said Kimball.

Several of the vehicles that have rolled out of this shop have saved lives in Mexico.

“We get calls all the time that they survived because of our vehicles. One businessman in Monterey was attacked at his home. They just started firing on his car and they weren’t able to get to him because of the armored vehicle,” said Kimball.

Clients in Mexico want the works, including a smokescreen, tacks that drop down to puncture tires, even electrified door handles that give attackers a non-lethal jolt.

Money is not the issue, time is.

“They’ll even pay extra for a rush job,” said Kimball.

The company is doubling its size and increasing its workforce by 30 percent to meet a growing demand driven by violence in Mexico.

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