Toyota Motor has developed a new method to combat theft of catalytic converters. The company will secretly mark over 100,000 catalysts with invisible markings. Subsequently, she will help to find out on which specific car the stolen part was installed. Thanks to this, the police will be able to fight organized crime in this area at all stages of illegal activity: from the thieves themselves to those involved in the subsequent disposal and recycling.
So far, the new technology will be launched only in the UK market, but if successful, the experience can be extended to other countries.
The most interesting thing is that the invisible marking of catalysts is offered not for new cars, but for previously released ones. Anyone can visit a Toyota dealer and tag their car for free (the same service is offered for Lexus).
Technological support for the project is provided by Smartwater, which has extensive experience in the field of labeling. She will also help the police identify catalysts after law enforcement officers shut down the next dealers.
Marking alone will not protect against theft. However, if an attacker knows that if they find cut catalysts, the police will be able to unravel the entire criminal chain and ultimately reach him, then he is more likely to choose a car on which the desired part is not marked in any way. This is what Toyota is betting on.
In mid-2020, it was reported that Toyota offered its customers in Western markets an anti-theft device called Catloc, which consists of clamps or thick cast plates that make it difficult to dismantle the catalyst. The company sells Catloc without margin, that is, at cost. It is calculated that thieves will not want to waste time and will choose an unprotected vehicle.
In recent years, theft of catalysts in large countries has become more frequent. This is due to the rise in prices for precious metals contained in them – palladium and rhodium. The most popular victim for crooks is the Toyota Prius hybrid.