Is factory-installed vehicle protection ever enough?
Can carmakers do more? Should they do more?
For most makes and models, the short answer would be no. Some makes and models have enough built-in security for their owners not to worry about their car being stolen, but, one could ask, why don’t all the others? A good question, and the answer is that researching and testing vehicle security systems would always be lagging behind those criminals who have already hacked into new technology – sometimes before it even gets to market. I’m not saying car manufacturers aren’t capable of boosting their products’ security because I think they are – but if they do, their cars will come with a higher price tag. In the end, it’s all about economics.
Some facts about the auto industry
Here are some facts about the auto industry in Europe and the UK. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), there are almost 300 car assembly and engine-production plants, and here’s a breakdown of what they produce:
- 142 manufacture passenger vehicles
- 28 build light commercial vans
- 58 of them make heavy-duty trucks
- 58 manufacture buses
- 71 plants assemble engines
- Many of those plants have a mixed production
The top four European countries with the most automotive plants making passenger cars, vans, trucks, buses, and engines are:
- Germany 42 plants
- France 31 plants
- UK 30 plants
- Italy 23 plants
The auto industry directly employs about 3.5 million people throughout Europe, which accounts for just about 11% of the workforce in manufacturing jobs. Adding the indirect employment resulting from retail, distribution, authorised dealerships and repair centres together with other related operations, those numbers go as high as 13.8 million. The last figure accounts for roughly 6% of all the jobs across Europe.
It is now said that the number of automotive plants per capita is too high, as the number of new vehicles registered in recent years has come down – even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information helps us understand the auto industry, what is involved in keeping it going and who is involved in it.
The economics of car manufacturing – and what to do next
With these facts about car manufacturing, we can say that the auto industry is a very important sector, given the high number of people it employs and the high revenue that each country’s government stands to receive year after year through various related taxes. Now, is it fair to say that carmakers don’t have any incentive to improve their car’s security because they need as many sales as possible to sustain the entire industry? That would be a fair argument. But then there’s another aspect to the problem. To have improved security requires a lot of logistics and costs. And in the end it’s going to be us, the consumer, paying for it. If that’s true, then car sales will plunge even further, putting the entire industry even more at risk by fewer car sales as buying power continues to decrease. We all know too well what the effect is going to have on the now-fragile, post-Covid economy.
Luckily, today we don’t have to rely totally on car manufacturers to boost vehicle security. There are plenty of third-party companies that have come out with all sorts of devices to do exactly that. The best part about those devices being that they are not that expensive, and they don’t have to be installed all at once. Then again from a cost perspective it would make more sense to have all that work done at the same time. Also, these devices can achieve much more than anything a carmaker would ever be able to do, since they can be customised for each vehicle individually. Moreover, there are additional ways to keep a vehicle secured.
Ways to increase the security of a vehicle
Now I will list what can be used to increase the security of vehicles, especially for keyless vehicles – whether they’re passenger cars, vans, motorcycles, scooters or mopeds.
For cars, vans, motorcycles, scooters and mopeds
- Alarms and tracking devices. Besides offering the ability to protect and track the vehicle at any time in real time, using a tracker means you can also monitor speed, mileage driven, idle times and much more. A tracking device can be very useful to companies with a fleet of vehicles, or to keep an eye on your child during their first years of driving. Find out more by visiting the vehicle tracking page.
- Immobiliser system. An immobiliser system like the Ghost II immobiliser is the ultimate defence system to have installed in your vehicle. There is no way of tracing where it is installed, and it does not emit any kind of signal that a thief can use for a relay attack. This device makes the vehicle undrivable. To start the vehicle, a code has to be entered, and this code is made up by pressing different control buttons in a specific sequence, which makes it impossible to guess. For more information, please visit our theft protection immobiliser system page.
Note: Having just these security devices installed can serve as a deterrent for thieves and can help reduce your insurance premiums. Get in touch with your insurance provider to find out how much can you save.
For motorcycles, scooters and mopeds
In addition to the features mentioned earlier, motorcycles, scooter and mopeds can also be secured as an added feature by doing the following:
- Use chains, locks and D-shackles. Loop the D-shackle around the wheel. The chain can be looped around the frame and secured onto the wall or ground by using Sold Secure Approved wall or ground anchors. A product catalogue can be found here.
- Portable security locks. Disc locks should be used with other security devices, as a stand-alone device would not be theft-proof and can always be removed by other means.
- Security marking and registration. This is another way of protecting your motorbike or scooter, by displaying a sticker on the motorbike stating that it is marked and then register it with the Secure by Design approved database. This may be a way of stopping thieves in the first place. More information you can find on Secure by Design website.
- Garage door defender. This can be fitted on most garage doors, and it can be fitted by you or a professional. The lock should be fitted on solid substrates like concrete, concrete blocks or bricks.
For both cars and motorbikes
Out and about and looking for a safe place to park? Look no further. Park Mark – Car Park is the first place you would want to look for. You can find more information on park mark. How to find a Park Mark – Car Park? Click on www.parkmark.co.uk.
What to do – and what not to do;
- Do secure your car or motorcycle, scooter, moped every time before you leave it
- Do use two disc locks for your motorcycle;
- Do use those disc locks in conjunction with other security devices;
- Do not attempt to drive away on your motorcycle before checking that all security devices have been removed;
- Do not forget the locks when used with a chain to secure the bike, up against any hard surfaces. This will make it easier for thieves to attempt to break it;
- Do not leave any valuables in plain sight
- Do not leave the key in the motorbike ignition switch, after parking it
For any motorcycle key repairs, replacements or for just a spare motorcycle key, please visit our motorcycle services page.
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