Car theft is on the rise again, with 112,000 vehicles reported stolen last year, up nine per cent on 2017’s figure.
Insurance firms see keyless theft, where crooks use cheap electronic kit to clone a key’s frequency, as fundamental to the recent increase. From 2021, the New Vehicle Security Assessment will place cars with vulnerable keyless systems in higher insurance groups, leading to potentially more expensive premiums for owners.
• How to avoid keyless theft
Nobody can blame car manufacturers for criminal activity, but fixes for keyless vulnerabilities are available. We asked all the major players what steps they are taking to safeguard their models past, present and future.
Fixes: What are car makers doing?
BMW and MINI
Fix? Sleeping keys
All new BMW and MINI keyless systems come with sleeping keys. Current BMW keys can be retrofitted with motion sensors; these aren’t available for previous-generation cars.
FCA Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jeep
Fix? Deactivate (some models)
FCA cars have industry-standard anti-theft devices. The firm did not refer to Faraday pouches or UWB tech when responding. Some keyless systems can be deactivated.
Fix? Sleeping keys, Faraday pouches
Sleeping keys for the current Fiesta and Focus were introduced in April. These can be retrofitted for £65-£72. Ford also offers Faraday pouches and blockers to prevent unauthorised communication through a car’s onboard diagnostics port.
Group PSA Peugeot, Citroen, DS & Vauxhall