© Tekton – Unsplash
Car theft is a scourge that continues to plague France. According to a recent study carried out by our colleagues from Auto-Plus magazine, 134,000 vehicles were stolen from their owners in France in 2022. This trend is unfortunately growing strongly since “only” ; 122,000 thefts were recorded in 2021.
Among the models most popular with crooks, the Toyota Prius takes first place in the ranking. This hybrid sedan from the Japanese manufacturer, very popular with taxi drivers in the capital, attracts desire for an essential part: its catalytic converter. The famous car thus occupies this sad place for the second year in a row.
A “golden” catalytic converter
The catalytic converter is a device that helps reduce pollution emitted by exhaust gases. It is composed of precious metals such as platinum, palladium or rhodium, which are used to transform toxic gases into less harmful gases.
Due to the particularly high temperature of its gases exhaust of this vehicle, it is forced to have a catalytic converter richer in precious metals than the average. The thieves have understood this well and therefore do not hesitate to cut the pot using a jack and a grinder – in a few minutes. Theythen resell the catalytic converter for more than 1,000 euros on the black market. To give you a point of comparison, rhodium alone is worth more than 600 euros per gram – or 11x more than gold.
An optional protection measure
Faced with this increase in catalytic converter thefts, Toyota reacted by offering its customers a solution to protect their vehicle: a protective shield. This is a metal plate which covers the catalytic converter and which makes it more difficult for thieves to access.
This option, priced at nearly 130 euros excluding the cost of installation is available for the Toyota Prius but also for other Toyota and Lexus models (the top of the range from Toyota). If the bill seems steep, it is however less steep than the cost of replacing the catalytic converter which, in the event of theft, will be billed at a minimum of 1,500 euros excluding labor costs. A word to the wise…