A new generation of super secure cars is helping beat car crime in Britain – that’s the view from Thatcham Research Centre at their annual British Insurance Car Security Awards held yesterday (7 June 2006).
Vehicle manufacturers were given universal praise from security and motor industry experts and Home Office minister, Vernon Coaker MP, for their success in locking down car crime.
One convicted car thief, ‘Paul’, was also on hand to explain how he was forced to give up and go straight after fifteen years stealing more than a hundred vehicles in South East London and Kent. ‘It just became too hard,’ he said. ‘Ten or fifteen years ago I could break in to a car, attack the electrics to start the engine and then drive it off – in under a minute. The immobilisers and alarms got better and better – now it is too difficult to bother. You need to have it towed away – or be in the possession of the key – to steal a new car now.’
Thatcham vehicle security manager, Mike Briggs said, ‘It is good to know that we are winning the war on car theft crime in Britain. We are helping manufacturers to continue to make improvements to the security of their vehicles. Manufacturers should be proud of what has been achieved in recent years.
‘The theft of new vehicles without the key, or physically towing it away, is near nigh impossible – now we would like to see further improvements on stopping criminals stealing valuables from vehicles.’
Mr Coaker said, ‘Vehicle security is an important issue for all of us when deciding our choice of car and I praise those manufacturers that have made significant improvements to security which has helped see a massive reduction in vehicle crime.
Today’s awards are an important event that highlight and reward those manufacturers who continue to improve the security of their cars and I congratulate the winners and all those considered for an award.’
Overall, car crime (theft from and theft of cars) peaked in 1995 – with drivers statistically likely to become a victim once every five years. In 1997, this had reduced to once every six years. In 1999 the risk was calculated as once in eight years, and 2001/02 once every nine years. The latest figures show that the risk of a motorist being the victim of car crime is now calculated at just once every 12 years.
Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the SMMT said that consumers were now far more aware of security issues when buying a vehicle. ‘Manufacturers are dramatically improving vehicle security year on year. The object of the exercise is to produce vehicles that are harder and harder to steal. There is no doubt that security is very high in the minds of car buyers so they are more and more inclined to buy a vehicle that comes out well in these awards.’
Security ratings for all vehicles since 1998 can be found at www.thatcham.org/nvsr
The British Insurance Car Security Awards 2006
City car/Supermini – Citroen C3 Exclusive
Small family car – Citroen C4 Exclusive
Family car – Peugeot 407 Executive
Compact Executive car – Lexus IS
Compact MPV – Mazda 5
Large MPV – Renault Espace (except Authentique)
Convertible/Roadster (including Cabriolet) – Volvo C70
Performance car (including Hot Hatch and Coupe) – Peugeot 407 Coupe
Compact 4×4 – Nissan X-Trail
Large 4×4 – Volkswagen Touareg
Executive car – Audi A6 saloon
Luxury car – Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Manufacturer award – Audi UK – A2, A3, A4 (ex cabriolet), A6/Allroad 4X4, A8 and TT (ex roadster)