Toyota approves SVI’s Hilux armouring package, making it available through dealer network


After rigorous testing and certification by Toyota engineers, Toyota South Africa Motors is now fully endorsing SVI Engineering’s Stopgun V2.0 armour package for the Hilux single cab bakkie series, with the armour package available to order from the 200+ Toyota dealerships around the country.

SVI held a celebration and certificate handover ceremony at its Bashewa facility east of Pretoria on 14 March, confirming SVI as an authorised converter and commercial vehicle partner.

There are many armoured vehicle manufacturers in South Africa that fit armour to commercial and civilian vehicles, but it is almost unheard of for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to endorse the conversion and provide a warranty following modifications.

Benny Jiyane, Chairman of SVI Engineering, receives the Toyota Authorised Partner certificate from Aidan Castille, GM Sales Conversions & Accessories at Toyota South Africa Motors.

As a result of Toyota’s endorsement, the Hilux Stopgun V2.0’s standard manufacturer warranty and service plan remain intact, while the entire package – including the price of the base vehicle and the cost of the armouring kit – can be fully financed.

“We’re exceptionally proud that our partnership with South Africa’s best-selling automaker – and our status as an authorised converter in Toyota’s commercial-vehicle partner programme – means the B6 Stopgun V2.0 package is now officially part of Toyota’s Conversions and Accessories product line-up, and is thus available to order from dealers nationwide,” said Nicol Louw, SVI Business Development Director. “Already well proven in the field, our Stopgun V2.0 package has also passed Toyota’s rigorous durability test, which in itself is the ultimate stamp of approval.”

Rigorous testing

Testing and evaluation took about a year to complete, and involved a durability programme that included two 8 000 km stints on Toyota SA Motors’ dedicated durability track in KwaZulu-Natal. Each run represented 100 000 km of real-world usage. A full teardown followed to allow Toyota’s engineers to inspect the status of all items, while the uprated door hinges and mounting points (plus the door-check straps) were put through 20 000 opening-and-closing cycles.

The Stopgun V2.0 package adds about 400 kg of weight to the Hilux. It comprises integrated door armour, flat 38 mm armoured glass that is bolted into each window frame to allow for fuss-free replacement, and B6 bullet-resistant protection for the roof, front fenders, all pillars and part of the firewall as well as critical under-bonnet components such as the battery and ABS unit.

Hilux Stopgun V2.0 interior.

The curtain airbag remains fully functional. Gunports are provided as standard but can be deleted upon request, while a front suspension upgrade is also included in the price, and the rear bumper is reinforced as standard.

SVI said its Stopgun V2.0 package provides South Africa’s security forces with a cost-effective B6 (up to 7.62×51 mm calibre) armouring solution to combat general crime, escort valuables in transit or use for mining patrols. A kit takes three weeks to install on one of Toyota’s four single cab Hilux versions, at a cost of just over R333 000 per vehicle.

SVI’s Stopgun V2.0 kit has been fitted to a wide range of vehicles, including the Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, and Hino 500 series.

SVI’s product catalogue includes everything from civilian and security vehicle armour to armoured guardhouses, bullet-resistant vests and military-spec armoured personnel carriers. The company has even armoured locomotives powering long trains of high-value cargo through parts of Africa.

With the escalation of crime across South Africa, many private and commercial entities and people are looking to acquire armoured vehicles, especially following the civil unrest of July 2021. SVI, as a result, has doubled the size of its production facilities outside Pretoria.

In addition to armoured civilian vehicles, SVI manufactures two armoured personnel carriers (APCs): the lightweight Max 3 and larger Max 9. The cost competitive Toyota Land Cruiser-based Max 3 has proven popular, with customers including multiple security firms. The South African National Defence Force took delivery of half a dozen Max 3s earlier this year.