Ontario-based Streit Manufacturing works hard to keep its clients safe, and its100 percent safety record is evidence of its success.
With a 100 percent safety record, it is no surprise Ontariobased Streit Manufacturing is the world’s leading privately owned armored vehicle manufacturer.
“Yes, we’ve made 18,000-plus vehicles,” says Ryan Holden, international account executive. “Sure, Streit has had a lot of growth as a company. None of those really matter. The only thing that matters is the tally of lives we have saved over 23 years ? and we’re just getting started.”
The Canadian company has come a long way since it started in a 2,500-square-foot building with a handful of employees.
“The owner, Guerman Goutorov, a former police officer, assembled the vehicles by hand,” Holden says. “The major success came through the quality of the vehicles, which were produced and started major momentum for the company in the cash-in-transit industry.”
In 2004, the company had a single 35,000- square-foot facility in Innisfil, Ontario, that was starting to feel small based on the amount of orders they were taking at the start of the Iraq War.
“A second facility, International Armored Group, was formed with a partner in United Arab Emirates to offer shorter delivery times for our government and private security customers,” Holden says. “When the partnership ended, Streit proceeded to dominate the market by keeping the largest stock of up-armored civilian vehicles in the world.”
In 2005, the company kept a stock of 300 vehicles, something that drew criticism from Streit’s competitors. Holden explains that having the vehicles set Streit and Goutorov apart from other manufacturers. Holden says the company has sold vehicles to nearly every procurement agency on the planet including the U.S. government, Africa, the Ukraine military and Ghana police.
“This niche of vehicles ready for immediately delivery created such an influx of business that Streit needed to expand operations by opening Streit Security Vehicles and Streit Iraq,” he says. “Streit Iraq was another first in the armored vehicle industry. Never before had an armored vehicle company opened a service/ sales facility on-ground in the operational theatre.”
The 300 vehicles in stock then pales in comparison to the consistent stock of 1,000 to 1,500 vehicles Streit has today. In Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), Streit can produce up to 400 vehicles per month.
“In fact, we carry more stock vehicles than our next best competitor will manufacture in an entire year,” Holden says.
The company has locations in the United States, Canada, five in UAE, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia and Nigeria. Streit also has offices in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Angola, Thailand, India, Philippines, Japan and Lebanon. Since 2011, the company has more than doubled its revenue every year.
“Annual sales have now reached nearly 5,000 vehicles per year which is more than double our nearest competitor,” Holden says. “We recently opened the largest ballistic glass manufacturing facility owned by an armoring company in the world. It is attached to our RAKIA compound.”
Having foresight and keeping a list of stock vehicles is what has helped Streit Manufacturing become a success.
“Streit being the first company on-ground in the Middle East lead to massive success,” Holden says. “I’ll admit that when I first saw a stock list of 700 vehicles sitting in the UAE, I was a bit dubious. My thoughts were racing about the amount of interest on a loan that large plus the amount of clients would be needed to secure the sale of that many vehicles. The company not only destroyed my expectations, Streit has grown at a level only matched by IT startups in the U.S. Lastly, the people who have worked for Streit over the years have been a huge benefactor of its success. Some of the greatest salespeople and engineers I have ever worked with combined to make Streit an absolute powerhouse in the industry.”
Streit works to truly analyze its clients’ needs. The company does not want to over-engineer its vehicles. Streit’s vehicles are easy to maintain, and components can be easily replaced.
“We don’t have pneumatic doors or hydraulic turrets,” Holden says. “What we have are functional vehicles designed to take wear and tear at a price that our end-users can afford. We invest a lot of time into aesthetics as well. Half the goal with a SWAT style vehicle is to scare perpetrators into submission. I believe the aggressive styling of our vehicles does that.”
In Streit’s impressive armored personnel carriers are the Cobra, Cougar, Puma, Warrior and Spartan.
“Each vehicle is designed for different operations,” Streit says. “Cobra, Cougar and Puma are smaller APC’s built on Toyota commercial chassis and the Warrior and Spartan share the larger Ford F550 platform.”
The Scorpion and Typhoon are their Mine- Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
“These vehicles are built to handle an 8 kilogram anti-tank mine/IED and will stop 7.62- millimeter, armor-piercing rounds,” Holden says. “This level of certification is fantastic because it tests the survivability inside the vehicle during the shockwave created from the explosives used.”
Streit is constantly doing R&D to improve the protection of the vehicles occupants. The manufacturer is proud that it has never had a single reported causality in the more than 18,000 vehicles it has produced.
“I sleep very well at night knowing that I’m making a difference with the products I sell,” Holden says.
A few years ago, Holden was forwarded an email from one of Streit’s customers who had a private security contractor working in Afghanistan. The email contained two photos. The first showed the contractor and his children when he returned home from service. The second was a barely recognizable Toyota Land Cruiser that was ambushed.
“The contractor asked in the email to thank the company that provided the vehicle that saved him and his colleagues,” Holden recalls. “I’m not a very emotional guy, but that really tore me up inside. Who made that vehicle? Streit made that vehicle.”