Car theft warning: Criminals are targeting popular Honda and Toyota road cars

Catalytic Converter: How the device helps reduce emissions

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Analysis from the group found the affordable Honda Jazz was one of UK gang members’ most sought after targets. Meanwhile, Toyota’s Prius and Auris models are also in the firing line alongside the company’s Lexus RX.

Admiral said hybrid cars were often targeted by thieves because the catalytic converters are of higher quality.

Hybrid models contain a higher concentration of the precious metals found inside the devices as they are less corroded than petrol and diesel emissions.

Admiral warns older models were mainly targeted with drivers possibly having their car “written off”

Lorna Connelly, Head of Claims at Admiral said: “Many of the cars targeted are older models.

“Maybe because the quantity of precious metals their catalytic converters contain is higher.

“Unfortunately, if the damage to these cars is too severe, they may need to be written off.

“When the car can be repaired, the work can be delayed as there is a shortfall of replacement catalytic converters given the sheer volume of the thefts taking place and supply just can’t keep up with the demand.

“This can cause additional distress as motorists have to wait longer for their car to be repaired.”

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Toyota confirmed it was older vehicles mostly being targeted by organised crime groups.

Until 2018, Toyota UK said it was installing just 50 catalytic converter replacements each year.

However, when the price of platinum group metals rose the number of replacement part installations soared to 8,000.

Toyota said it had restarted some of its old production lines to ensure drivers can get replacement parts.

A spokesperson said Toyota GB makes no profits on replacement catalytic converters with prices kept at the cost of production.

They confirmed more modern vehicles contain less precious metals due to new technology.

The catalytic converters are also installed in a different area on modern vehicles, making them harder to remove.

Speaking to, a Toyota spokesperson said: “Our older hybrids are amongst the cars targeted in this growing organised crime.

“We are working closely with police and others to do everything we can to protect our customers.”

Honda also confirmed it has changed the position of the catalytic converter on new models to make it “more difficult” for criminals to steal the part.

Honda has urged road users to “make it harder for criminals to get access to a car by fitting a range of security devices.

A spokesperson said: “From 2008 onwards, Honda vehicles have positioned the catalytic converter within the engine bay to make theft more difficult.

Honda UK recommends owners of these cars follow the advice given by police.

“This advice includes parking inside a locked garage, near walls or other vehicles to make it harder to get underneath the car.

“Adding security lighting, CCTV or home alarm systems will also help to deter thieves.

“The police also advise installing a Thatcham approved alarm. All Honda vehicles currently on sale are fitted with Thatcham approved alarms as standard.”

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