Europe News: SBD assesses challenges for pan-European stolen vehicle tracking

Europe News:  SBD assesses challenges for pan-European stolen vehicle tracking

Recent research published by SBD highlights the statistic that, on average, more than 80% of newer stolen cars in Europe were stolen by using the original key – often the only method of stealing a vehicle fitted with modern high level security.

Key theft has become a significant facilitator in thefts of high-value vehicles in recent years, and SBD expects this trend to continue.

Increasing use of this method by professional car thieves targeting high-value vehicles has contributed to a significant reduction in the recovery rates of such vehicles, and consequently a corresponding increase in the cost of ‘total loss’ claims for insurers.

To reduce these costs, a number of European insurance providers have responded by drawing up standards for fitment and operation of vehicle tracking systems that would ultimately enable recovery of vehicles following theft by a thief in possession of the original key.

In this respect, vehicle tracking systems represent a different approach to that of traditional security systems (mechanical locks, immobilisers, alarms) which have the objective to prevent theft.

Paul Burnley, SBD Security specialist and author of the vehicle tracking report, notes: “Whilst the refinement of GPS technology has enabled many companies to launch vehicle tracking systems, these products may be ineffective in recovering vehicles after theft unless basic security principles are applied in the development, integration and operation of the system.”

According to SBD’s report, three focal countries in Europe have their finger on the pulse of vehicle crime and understand real world theft methods, and have released the most effective and stringent requirements.

These three countries’ criteria for product design compliance means savings in time and money for OEMs, tracking system manufacturers, and aftermarket suppliers.

While SBD believes that the overall market for tracking systems in Europe is set to continue its growth and the market share of OE systems will increase steadily, it does not believe that this growth will be driven by insurance demand, but as a by-product of vehicle ITS and telematics applications.

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