Grey import cars may have superficial attractions but good anti-theft systems are not among them. The plain truth is a Grey import is easier to steal. That means the apparent saving on the cost of purchase may prove to be an expensive economy.
Cars for Japan and Europe may be built down the same production line and appear to be identical, but officially imported versions will have many enhanced security features which are designed to thwart the UK car thief. These features can be built-in to UK specification vehicles during production such as double locking, or as is the case with every Toyota imported into the UK, added once the car reaches these shores and therefore not fitted to Grey imports.
For example, Toyota adds etched glass (with an associated 24 hour data register to prevent ringing), enhanced engine immobiliser, locking wheel nuts and specially marked, hidden parts to every car officially imported. Thatcham Category One compliant Toyota alarm systems are also fitted to all sports/specialist cars as well as most medium family saloons in the range.
Not only do these UK-specific security features make the cars harder for thieves to steal and pass on with false identities, but they also help Toyota cars achieve highly competitive anti-theft ratings from the officials at Thatcham – the insurance industry’s independent evaluation body.
The benefit to the customer is lower insurance premiums as well as increased peace of mind. Even greater reassurance can be found if they buy an Approved Used car from a Toyota dealer as these cars will have a documented history and offer a level of warranty close to that offered on new cars.
Further independent endorsement of the benefits of UK specific security enhancements comes from awards such as the What Car? magazine security award. This was recently awarded jointly to the Toyota Previa and Lexus IS200, the latter remains the only vehicle to have ever achieved a perfect score, proving that top quality deterrents can be fitted to family cars as well as up-market executive models.
Note to Editors: Grey imported cars and vans are those vehicles that are imported from overseas territories outside the EU, particularly from Japan and the Middle East. These vehicles have different technical specifications, which can affect exhaust/noise emissions braking performance, body corrosion and security measures.