Catalytic converter theft has become a problem among vehicle owners, not only in the UK but also in other parts of the world. Last March, 250 catalytic converter units were recovered by the LA County Sheriff, valued at around $750,000 (£540,000). The high costs of making these ubiquitous car components (especially the precious metals utilised) lead to the increased theft, and automakers have been making their moves to help owners with the issue.
While Mitsubishi's discount back in February was weirdly related to these thefts, Toyota's current move is more sensible – albeit it's only limited to Toyota owners in the United Kingdom for now.
Gallery: All-New Toyota Corolla in Depth
In a press release, Toyota UK announced that it's investing more than £1 million to covertly mark catalytic converters on over 100,000 Toyota vehicles, helping the police track and arrest thieves.
The service is free to owners, but the automaker specifically mentioned that older models are the target of the offer. This is because more modern Toyota and Lexus cars have a different design for the catalysts, so they're not typically targeted for thefts. For the included owners, all they need to do is to contact their local Toyota or Lexus dealer to schedule the free service.
Of note, Toyota is working with Smartwater, which manufactures police-approved and invisible marking kits. The first batch of tracing kits is numbered at 50,000 units, while 20,000 more are given to the police department so they can help with contacting owners of much older vehicles that could be out of the automaker's database.
As mentioned, the free Toyota tracing service is being rolled out in the UK for now, but we sure do hope that the automaker offers this service globally. Considering the marque's status as the largest automaker in the world, it suffices to say that many owners who are vulnerable to such crime will be needing assistance as well.