European cars have completed a clean-sweep of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council’s (NMVTRC) secure vehicle design awards for 2012.
The eight winners were adjudged to be the most secure vehicles in their class, rated against more than 70 current-model vehicles tested by engineering experts from NRMA Insurance’s Research Centre in Sydney.
2012 Secure by Design winners:
- Small car – Volkswagen Polo five-door hatch
- Small-medium car – Volkswagen Golf five-door hatch
- Medium car – Audi A4, Volkswagen Passat
- Large car – Jaguar XF
- SUV – Volkswagen Tiguan
- Coupe/Convertible – BMW 1-Series, BMW 3-Series
Each vehicle in the evaluation process was assessed against three key security criteria: entry systems (such as doors, ignition locks, alarms, rear-seat/boot access and glazing), engine immobiliser, and vehicle identification (body stamping, security labelling and micro-dotting).
NMVTRC chairman David Morgan explained the level of secure design applied in the manufacturing process of a vehicle was the most important factor in determining the theft rate of a particular model.
“While there are some luxury vehicles amongst the winners … the Polo, starting at around $20,000, clearly demonstrates that good security is within reach of everyday motorists and that other manufacturers should be aspiring to [be] matching these levels of design,” Morgan said.
The NMVTRC intended to award winners in the people mover and commercial vehicle segments, but Morgan said the gap between the top-sellers in those segments compared with the awarded passenger models was too great to deserve special recognition.
He also called on local manufacturers to “lift their game” in relation to vehicle identification technology.
“Improved vehicle identification is essential to combating profit-motivated thieves who launder stolen vehicles by manipulating the vehicles’ identifiers, or break the vehicle down to separated parts for sale on the black market,” Morgan said.
NRMA Insurance head of research Robert McDonald said the results of the study were pleasing, but insisted more could be done to combat professional car theft in Australia. McDonald said updating vehicle identification technology with the adoption of high-security self-voiding labels, in place of current aluminium compliance plates and low-security labels, was an important step for the industry to take.