In an interesting amalgamation of professional expertise and love of automobiles, two management graduates are making light work of their job, literally.
Badri Krishnamoorthy and U. Satish Bhat, from IIM Kolkata and IIM Ahmedabad respectively, convert sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and luxury cars into bullet-proof and grenade-proof vehicles for VVIPs.
Among their clients are chief ministers, diplomats and executives of multinational companies. The duo is now expanding their horizons by conducting workshops on their area of proficiency.
Krishnamoorthy, who graduated from IIM Kolkata in 2004 said converting SUVs and luxury cars into armoured vehicles costs anything between R12 and 50 lakh, depending upon the kind of safety cover desired.
The SUVs and luxury cars, which are generally converted into armoured vehicles, include Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Pajero and Land Cruiser. However, he says these days, even the more affordable Scorpio and Safari are making the cut.
“Gone are the days when an armoured vehicle was an abnormality. Earlier, only ministers and diplomats could afford them. However, these days, a lot of other people are getting their vehicles converted, with lower versions costing between R12 and 25 lakh,” Krishnamoorthy said.
However, the downside is the weight of such cars goes up by 800 to 1000 kg and their milage comes down to about 50 percent of normal.
According to U Satish Bhat, who claims to have converted fleets of cars meant for former Prime Ministers, a top-grade armoured vehicle protects its occupants from bullets fired from SLR rifles, AK-47s and grenades.
Krishnammorthy says his company has recently converted about three-four SUVs into lower version armoured vehicles.
He adds, “Clients who spend R50-80 lakh and above towards buying vehicles, do not mind shelling out R12-25 lakh more for protection from criminals and much-needed personal safety.”