New Consumer Study Rates Best And Worst In Car Security

Thu 21st Mar 2019

A new security rating has been introduced by one of the UK’s main motoring research centres, with the aim of highlighting the best and worst of security systems in cars.

With the introduction of keyless car fobs in some of the latest car brands, there has been a sharp spike in the theft of cars with vulnerable systems which have been exploited by simple software programme.

Now Thatcham Research is rating new cars on these vulnerabilities, rating cars as ‘superior’, ‘good’, ‘poor’ and ‘unacceptable’. But the news is not pleasing everyone, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) saying that the tests just confuses a complex issue.

The new tests will look at a range of security features, including one which will look at keyless start systems and if they are easier to steal using the relay technologies which are proving popular with car thieves.

Thatcham Research has rated 11 cars so far this year, with six of those cars rated as poor. However, it wasn’t all bad news as the Audi E-tron, Jaguar XE, Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz B-Class all receiving superior ratings.

Speaking about the new security ratings, Thatcham Research chief technical officer Richard Billyeald said: “The reason we’ve launched this new rating is to empower consumers about the theft risk of cars they may be considering buying. We’re focussing on keyless theft in particular because it gives thieves the ability to bypass 20 years of security improvements in a matter of seconds.”

However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has criticised the new rating scheme. CEO Mike Hawes said: “It confuses rather than simplifies a very complex issue and will not help consumers, rather offering a signpost to thieves and increasing the risk of targeted criminal activity.”