Cat-napper warning for hybrid owners
Thieves are profiting handsomely from the high prices of precious metals, employed within catalytic converters to cleanse exhaust gases. As used catalytic converters can have a scrap value of hundreds of pounds, it is easy money for a thief, who can jack up your car, cut up the exhaust system and escape within minutes.
According to the online parts and accessories distributor PartsinMotion.co.uk, the increasing value of rhodium is encouraging catalytic converter thefts, which has risen by 210% in twelve months. Thieves are targeting petrol hybrid vehicles, especially those from Japanese manufacturers, because they tend to contain more precious metals. In one month alone last year, one motor insurer received 400 claims solely for catalytic converter thefts.
Demand is so high for replacement parts that Toyota has restarted catalytic converter production in both Japan and France for many of its older models to supply affected owners with replacement parts and a security device for no profit. Its UK arm, Toyota (GB) is dedicating over £1 million to security-mark more than 100,000 parts on older vehicles, at no cost to its customers. Working with law enforcement and Smartwater, the manufacturer of police-approved marking kits, the aim is to link a stolen catalytic converter to a specific crime. It also makes handling stolen parts riskier for all parties, from criminal gangs to the recyclers, which might discourage the thefts.
Toyota is offering the Smartwater marking free to all Toyota and Lexus owners. Simply call your local Toyota/Lexus dealership to arrange a visit.