O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt was a specialty vehicle manufacturer based in Fairfield, Ohio, in the United States. The company became part of Armor Holdings, Inc a world leader in security products and services which in late 2005 reorganized its mobile security division under the Centigon brand name. Centigon was originally founded in 1998 as the O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt subsidiary located in Colombia to service the Andean Pact area. It mostly produced armored versions of civilian vehicles. In 2007 Armor Holdings was purchased by BAE Systems plc. BAE sold Centigon to Carat Duchatelet Holdings in February 2008. In March, 2010, Centigon became one of three brands under the recently launched master brand, the Carat Security Group, headquartered in Lamballe, France.
The global Carat Security Group network operates 6 facilities in 5 countries, including production facilities in Mexico City and Monterrey Mexico, Caracas Venezuela, Bogotá Colombia, São Paulo Brazil and Group headquarters in Lamballe, France. The headquarters houses the Group's design center of excellence, providing worldwide operations with superior design and production methodologies, after sales service and support.
O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt was established in 1876 as a custom coach builder. The company built its first motorcar body in 1906. Production of commercial armored vehicles began in 1942. A few years later prepared a bullet-resistant car for then President Harry S Truman. O'Gara thereafter provided mobile security for more than sixty international heads-of-state, every American President between 1948 and 2001, numerous U.S. government agencies, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. O'Gara armored a variety of vehicles, including limousines, sedans, sport utility vehicles, and cash-in-transit vehicles, to protect against varying degrees of ballistic and blast threats. The company also built armored personnel carriers, mobile water cannon and pursuit vehicles. It was the prime contractor to the U.S. Military for the supply of armoring and blast protection for the ubiquitous Humvee.
During the 1990s manufacturing subsidiaries were opened in Mexico, Brazil, France, Russia, Colombia and the Philippines. In 2000 O'Gara introduced IMPAKтм, the world's first aramid bullet resistant fabric designed for passenger vehicles.
On 23 April 2001 Armor Holdings agreed to buy the security products and security group of The Kroll O'Gara Co., including O'Gara-Hess and Eisenhardt, absorbing the latter and retiring its name. The acquisition was completed on 23 August 2001 for $53.7 million.
On 7 May 2007 BAE Systems announced its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. was to purchase Armor Holdings for US$4.1 billion (US$4.5 billion including net debt). The acquisition was completed on 31 July 2007. Discussing the integration of Armor Holdings, President and CEO of BAE Systems Inc. Walt Havenstein said the company was undecided on the future of the Centigon division: "We still have to assess how we want to approach that market, either from a U.S.-centered perspective or from a global perspective, so that's a little less clear". BAE completed the sale of Centigon to Carat Duchatelet Holdings on 26 February 2008.
In March, 2010 the Centigon brand was placed under the new overall branding umbrella Carat Security Group, sharing status with Carat Duchatelet and the newly created Carat Defense brands. The Centigon brand features standard wheelbase armored sedans, sport utility vehicles and cash in transit offerings. Brand offerings include the exclusive OEM-certified armored Land Rover Discovery IV, Jaguar Sentinel and independently certified armored Land Cruiser 200. Global production under the Centigon brand exceeds 1400 armored vehicles per year worldwide.
- Basch, Mark (2001-04-24). "Jacksonville, Fla.-Based Armor Company Buys Armored Car Maker". Florida Times-Union.
- "Kroll-O'Gara Completes Sale of O'Gara Business to Armor Holdings". Business Wire (Business Wire, Inc.). 2001-08-23.
- "BAE Systems plc announces proposed acquisition of Armor Holdings Inc." (PDF) (Press release). BAE Systems plc. 2007-05-07. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
- "BAE Systems completes acquisition of Armor Holdings Inc." (PDF) (Press release). BAE Systems plc. 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
- Biesecker, Calvin (2007-08-03). "BAE Outlines Integration Plans For Armor Holdings". Defense Daily International.
- "Carat Duchatelet Holdings announces the acquisition of BAE System’s Centigon International" (Press release). Carat Duchatelet Holdings. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- "Carat Duchatelet & Centigon Unveil New Global Brand and Website Portal" (Press release). Carat Security Group. 2012-02-26.