Volkswagen picks up security award
The Volkswagen Group's vehicles were overwhelmingly rated as the hardest to steal, with Audi and VW brands winning nine of the 15 categories. The Volkswagen Beetle won the small family car award, the VW Sharan topped the large MPV category, while the VW Phaeton headed the luxury car line-up for the fifth consecutive year.
Audi won six categories. The A1 was named Britain's most secure supermini, the A4 took the accolade for the most secure compact executive car, while the A5 Cabriolet won the title of toughest open top car to steal. The Audi Q5 was recognised as the most impenetrable compact 4x4, the A5 W12 Quattro as the most secure performance car, and the Audi Q3 took the title of hardest-to-steal crossover.
Citroen also performed well. The Citroen C5 Exclusive won the family car category for the fifth consecutive year, while the C4 Picasso Exclusive took the compact MPV award and the C6 topped the executive category.
Other winners were the Toyota Land Cruiser V8 in the large 4x4 category, the Land Rover Discovery 4 in the 4x4 van segment, and the Vauxhall Ampera, which was the 'greenest' car of all those considered for an award.
In order to be eligible for the Awards, cars must have achieved the maximum five-star rating in British Insurance Industry New Vehicle Security Rating 'theft of' tests, and at least four out of five in 'theft from' tests.
Cars with all-round laminated glass to prevent opportunistic smash and grab thefts – Audi A8 W12 Quattro, Citroen C4, C5 and C6, and the Toyota Land Cruiser V8 – were given special consideration. The VW Phaeton was praised because it is fitted with glass that's etched with the car's Vehicle Identification Number.
Car makers and vehicle insurers said the accolades recognised how successful new security technology has been at reducing the number of vehicle thefts and thefts from vehicles (although not their value) in recent years.
Government statistics reveal there were more than 1.2 million vehicle-related theft incidents from March 2011-March 2012 – a 51% decrease on the same period in 2001/02.
According to Peter Shaw, the boss motor insurance research organisation Thatcham, security developments have helped prevent losses of more than £2 billion in the past decade, while Dave Meader, head of technical motor underwriting at Direct Line, said the theft element of private motor insurance premiums has decreased from 5% to 2%.
The Awards were announced in the wake of well-publicised security breaches suffered by certain BMW models. A security loophole allowed thieves to tap into the cars' diagnostics port, access coding, and programme a duplicate key. A software upgrade for X5 and X6 is now available through the BMW dealer network
Thatcham's Peter Shaw, talking about the BMW breach, said: 'This new issue demonstrates that despite the achievements of manufacturers, while thieves continue to look for new ways to steal vehicles there will be no room for complacency in the fight against vehicle crime.'