The armored vehicles are especially considered to be associated with the military. However, there can be civilian armored vehicles too. In fact, today, a large number of highly acclaimed armored vehicles- cars, vans, trucks and the like are actually produced for civilian use. These are hardy vehicles and promise high levels of security.
The civilian armored cars commonly seen are either produced in the factory or are retrofitted versions of Series cars. The process of converting an ordinary car to an armored one takes a few weeks. There is a labor intensive process involved in which the windows of the car are replaced with bulletproof glass and layers of armor are inserted under the outer skin of the car. Often the external appearance of the car is left as it is so as to make the changes inconspicuous.
The armored cars are generally used by people who feel themselves at constant risk or threat like news reporters and officials and other people moving through or residing in war or conflict zones. Politicians, entrepreneurs and other very important people who can afford armored cars usually opt for them. Often civilian vehicles which are modified and converted into armored cars are improvised and adapted by many militias and irregular forces. Money and valuables are also often carried from one place to another using armored vehicle as a safeguard against highway robbery or cargo and good high jacking.
Civilian vehicles are armored for similar purpose for which military vehicles are armored, that is, for withstanding the attack of shrapnel, bullets, missiles, shells etc. However, armored vehicles and light armored vehicles also serve to fulfill ad hoc fashion interests. Nowadays there has also evolved the trend of using transparent armor for vehicles. This is set up using special type of glass armor. Apart from the armor various other protective measures are adopted too in the armored vehicles like keeping of fire extinguishers, run-flat tires, remote starting of car, pressure control and temperature regulation of the car, use of an explosion resistant fuel tank, siren or alarm system and intercom (between exterior and interior of car) incorporation. All these are done as means to provide enhanced safeguard.
Thus, it can be seen that armored vehicles serve much civilian interest too. In such times of strife and terrorism especially designed armored vehicles do assure a high security level. However, everything said and done, it is also true that excessive use of armor restricts mobility. So, it is better that vehicles are armored only to the extent necessary. This will make them more aesthetically appealing too.