Four of the top five best-selling new cars on sale today are among the most susceptible to keyless car theft. That’s according to a new report by consumer group, Which?.
The big four are the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai. All are highly vulnerable to keyless theft.
The Which? research covered 237 car models equipped with keyless technology. Among these, all but seven could be opened and started using relay boxes. A further four models could either be accessed or started using this tech.
It’s worth noting from the off, however, that keyless theft is not impossible to prevent.
The safest keyless cars on sale
It seems Jaguar Land Rover has upped its security game in recent years, after a spate of Range Rover thefts involving key cloning. According to the Which?, the latest Discovery, Range Rover and new Jaguar I-Pace aren’t currently susceptible to relay-style attacks.
Which was the odd one out of the top five best-sellers? Why, the humble Vauxhall Corsa, of course, given its lack of a keyless option.
What is a relay attack?
This type of theft usually takes place at the car owner’s home, due to how it works. One of two thieves stands as close to the house as possible, while the other waits by the car.
The box relays the signal from the key inside the house to the car. This fools the car into thinking the key is closer and unlocks it, ready to start.
What are the latest car theft numbers?
Between March 2017 and March 2018, there were 106,000 car thefts reported to the police in England and Wales. Thats the highest number since 2009. Figures from the West Midlands Police reveal that car theft almost doubled in 2017 compared to 2015, with 9,451 incidents versus 5,344.
Earlier in January 2019, a new task force was called for by the policing minister Nick Hurd to combat the ‘epidemic’ of car theft. Vehicle crime has increased by seven percent over the past 12 months, ‘leaving no community unaffected’.
Numbers are still lower than they were in the 1990s, but it’s plain to see they’re on the rise.
SMMT: “New cars are more secure than ever”
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is eager to calm hysteria around keyless theft.
“New cars are more secure than ever, and the latest technology has helped bring down theft dramatically with, on average, less than 0.3 percent of the cars on our roads stolen,” said Mike Hawes, head of the SMMT.
Hawes went on to say that motor manufacturers need to keep on top of their game, but added that the technology thieves use needs to be regulated and taken off-sale.
“We continue to call for action to stop the open sale of equipment with no legal purpose that helps criminals steal cars.”