A survey says Americans need to do more to protect their vehicles from theft - which presents an opportunity for auto dealers to increase sales of anti-theft devices.
Many car owners have no theft protection or vehicle recovery products designed to combat today's sophisticated car thieves. Auto theft rates are on the rise for the first time in a decade
When it comes to common sense, the news is good for consumers. More than 75% say they always lock their car and close the windows completely, 70% say they hide their valuables from view, and 55% say they always park in a well-lit area.
The bad news for consumers can be good news for dealers. Fully 43% of Americans have no theft protection system in their vehicle, such as vehicle recovery systems, satellite tracking systems, alarms, kill switches, locks on the steering wheels, brakes or wheels, or theft prevention decals.
The ugliest consumer data point of all reveals that slightly more than one third of drivers (34%) admit they sometimes leave their vehicle running unattended to warm it up, cool it down or do a quick errand. Fifty percent of 18-24 year olds exercise this risky habit, making their cars an easy target for thieves.
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and funded by LoJack Corporation, makers of anti-theft vehicle tracking devices.
A key survey conclusion: Dealers should educate their customers about what just may be a common misconception of who is behind vehicle theft and what it really takes to protect a vehicle today.
More than 50% of respondents correctly identify organized crime or auto theft rings as the force behind most vehicle thefts; however, 39% think it is simply the teenager out for a joyride.
“The fact that so many people think auto theft is the result of a teenager looking to take a quick spin is very revealing and may explain the lack of theft protection people have today,” says Donna Driscoll, vice president of global marketing at LoJack.
She adds, “Simply put, dealers have the opportunity to educate their customers that car theft is big business and the thieves running chop shops and auto theft rings are incredibly sophisticated professionals.”
LoJack is conducting a consumer education campaign designed to help people understand the severity of today's auto theft problem and learn what it takes to properly safeguard their vehicles.
“The bottom line is that in today's climate, people need to know more and ultimately do more of the right things to protect their vehicle,” says Driscoll.
She says it benefits dealers “because we believe that a knowledgeable consumer is more likely to purchase auto theft products.”
Opinion Research Corporation did the survey based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 American adults. Response totals are subject to a plus or minus 3% margin of error.
The HIT List
About 1.2 million vehicles are stolen in the U.S. each year. Here are the most stolen, according to the NICB:
- Toyota Camry
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Oldsmobile Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
- Chevrolet Full Size C/K Pickup
- Toyota Corolla
- Ford Taurus
- Chevrolet Caprice
- Ford F150 Pickup
- Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan
- Chevrolet Cavalier
- Plymouth/Dodge Neon
- Pontiac Grand Am
- Nissan Sentra
- Ford Explorer
- Ford Mustang
- Oldsmobile Delta 88/Royale
- Buick Le Sabre
- Ford Escort
- Cadillac Deville
- Chevrolet Full Size Extended Cab Pickup
- Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager
- Nissan Maxima
- Toyota Pickup