Mexico's armored car production is expected to total 2,500 units this year, a figure matching the output in 2012, the Mexican Automotive Armor Association, or AMBA, said.

The armoring of vehicles fell about 20 percent in the second quarter because the government, "which acquires 30 percent of the reinforced autos, delayed purchases nationwide," AMBA president Jose Eduardo Llanos said.

The auto industry expects to sell up to 1.07 million light units this year even though the government revised its economic growth forecast downward from 3.5 percent to 1.8 percent, Llanos said.

AMBA members had a 51 percent market share in the first half of this year, when 589 vehicles were armored, Llanos said.

"At AMBA, we estimate that we will have solidified our leadership in the industry and will have a 60 percent market share by the end of this year," Llanos said.

Purchasers are now looking for heavier armor, while lighter armor was the norm five or six years ago, the AMBA president said.

Exports are low due to high tariffs and demand for armored cargo trucks now accounts for 5 percent of the market, Llanos said.

Security companies are focusing on selling safe vehicles that save lives, Llanos said.

Demand for armored vehicles has soared in recent years in Mexico, which has been plagued by a wave of drug-related violence that has left thousands of people dead. EFE