This car has become the number one target for thieves, it hides a coveted treasure

This flagship model from a famous Japanese brand is a delight for car thieves.

This car has become the number one target for thieves, it hides a coveted treasure

This flagship model from a famous Japanese brand is a delight for car thieves.

Car theft is still a very lucrative business for thugs looking for easy money. After a decrease during the confinements due to Covid-19, the figures have also started to rise again. Thus, according to a study conducted by Auto-Plus magazine, no less than 134,000 vehicles were stolen from their owners in France in 2022. This is equivalent to 367 car thefts per day, one every...4 minutes !

If theft techniques are increasingly well established, in particular using electronic boxes allowing doors to be opened without breaking in, many criminals mainly target certain rooms during their thefts. This is very often the case for the Toyota Prius. In 2021, the Toyota Prius made a sensational entry into the hit parade of the most stolen cars in France. Absent from the ranking the previous year, the Japanese brand's sedan became in one year the most popular model among thugs.

Very popular in many markets, particularly among taxi drivers, the Japanese manufacturer's hybrid model particularly attracts thieves for an essential part: its catalytic converter. On all vehicles, the catalyst – whose function is to transform the heating gases to make them less toxic – contains precious metals (platinum, palladium, rhodium). But the Prius, due to the very high temperature of its exhaust gases, contains much more than average. The crooks have understood this and are specifically targeting the high-value catalytic converters of the Japanese sedan, resold for more than 1,000 euros on the black market.

One of the main problems faced by Toyota is that the catalytic converter placed under its cars was far too visible. With a simple jack and a grinder, the thieves cut up the pot in just a few minutes. After hearing about the skyrocketing theft of catalytic converters on its sedan, the Japanese manufacturer counter-attacked by suggesting to its customers, but as an option (!), to encase them in a protective shield in order to make it difficult for the thugs. Priced at nearly 130 euros excluding installation costs, this metal plate is now also offered on other Toyota and Lexus models (Toyota's top of the range). A way for the car manufacturer to better protect its products, while bringing a little more money into its coffers...

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