Special Vehicle Industries (SVI) Engineering, which manufactures a range of commercial and military armoured vehicles, has partnered with Ford to offer OEM-approved armour on Ranger bakkies as it extends its commercial armoured range.
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa last week said the Ford-approved armour protection for the Ranger is a first for any original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in South Africa.
“With more than 18 000 vehicle hijackings recorded annually in South Africa, according to the South African Police Service Annual Crime Statistics for 2019/20, it makes sense to add another layer of safety for Ford customers in the form of ballistic protection,” the company said.
“While we all wish there was no need for armoured civilian vehicles anywhere in the world, being able to provide outstanding levels of safety for customers is deeply rooted in Ford’s DNA, with armoured protection being no exception,” said Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
“We see armoured vehicle protection as a next step into a potentially life-saving sector. Ford is leading the way in customer experience by offering this without affecting the Ranger’s full warranty and service plan, which is a first for any OEM in South Africa,” said Hill.
The Ranger can be ordered directly from a franchise dealer (there 134 Ford dealerships around the country).
“SVI is proud to announce our cooperation agreement with Ford SA to provide Ranger customers with a turnkey solution for all their armoured vehicle needs,” said Jaco de Kock, CEO at SVI Engineering. “The Ranger is one of the best-selling bakkies in South Africa and this agreement expands SVI’s footprint throughout Southern Africa. The quality of the Ranger mirrors the well-proven ballistic protection and track record of SVI’s armouring solutions. Customers can now procure a fully locally-manufactured armoured vehicle with OEM support.”
SVI offers two levels of Ford-approved armoured protection for the Ranger, across all models, powertrains and derivatives. The B4 protection level provides protection against handguns up to a .44 Magnum and consists of 18-21 mm armoured glass in combination with Kevlar sheets for the body. It adds 280 kg on the Ranger Double Cab and takes around eight weeks to install.
SVI and Ford also offer B6 protection, which is the highest level of civilian protection allowed without a special permit. This has been designed for the valuables-in-transit industry as well as high-profile individuals needing the ultimate level of protection. B6 protection protects against R1 assault rifle and AK-47 rounds (7.62×51 mm and 7.62×39 mm). This comprises 38 mm armoured glass and special armoured steel plates. Due to the additional 650 kg of armour, the Ranger’s suspension is upgraded accordingly.
With the B6 armour protection option, customers can choose between a discreet appearance, or the cost-effective non-discreet option, called Stopgun V2.0. The discreet option features upgrades not easily identifiable on the vehicle, versus the more obvious protection on the non-discreet Stopgun option. The discreet option takes 12 weeks to build, while the Stopgun security option can be installed in two weeks. The B4 option is available only in the discreet appearance form.
Prices range from R234 000 to R688 000 depending on model and armour package.
Additional Ford-approved options for the Ranger include roof armouring, floor armouring, bullbar and ballistic grill, run-flat ring system for the tyres and a public announcement system.
SVI was formed in 2004 and specialises in mechanical engineering, product development and manufacturing, and protected vehicles, including armoured civilian vehicles, armoured luxury vehicles, remanufactured military and police vehicles, asset protection vehicles, guard houses and towers.
In 2017 it completed development of its Max 9 armoured personnel carrier, which has unique features such as a digital dashboard and single-piece curved armoured windscreen. In September 2018 SVI unveiled the 3.8 ton Max 3 low cost light armoured vehicle, available in different variants, such as mortar carrier. It is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser 79 platform to keep costs down and fitted with an armoured cab with B6 ballistic protection, but this can be upgraded to B7.
In 2019 SVI launched SVI Secure, an armoured vehicle rental division that offers modified commercial vehicles like saloons and SUVs as well as armoured personnel carriers.
For close protection and valuables in transit solutions, SVI offers affordable cube-in solutions for close-protection vehicles and tailormade canopies ranging from valuables in transit up to full armoured personnel carrier units.
SVI works closely with original equipment manufacturers like Toyota, as the Land Cruiser and Hilux are common base vehicles for asset protection and security companies. Other partnerships are being forged with companies such as Isuzu. SVI has endorsement from Toyota Japan to export armoured Toyota vehicles into Africa.
Although SVI has a list of preferred vehicles it armours for the sake of ease of modification, the company can armour just about any vehicle. Its typical private customers fit armour to BMW sedans and SUVs and Toyota Hilux and Land Cruiser/Prado models.
Since being established in 2004, SVI has put 2 500 vehicles and products in the field, with customers in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.