The theft of catalytic converters from cars isn’t a new crime, but it has increased significantly in 2019.
Any car fitted with a catalytic converter could be at risk. In Toyota’s case it is second and third-generation Prius models (2004-2009 and 2009-2016 respectively) and second-generation Auris Hybrids (2012-2018) which have been particular targets for thieves.
Below we’ve gathered the best advice for Toyota owners who may be concerned.
What is a catalytic converter?
The catalytic converter is part of the car’s emissions control system. Located close to the engine, it cleans up the exhaust gases before they are expelled from the car through the exhaust pipe. Its internal elements react with the gases, breaking them down into less harmful substances and water vapour. All cars sold in Europe since 1993 have had to be fitted with catalytic converter by law.
Why are they a target for thieves?
Clearly the police are best placed to offer advice on the motives behind this crime, but we understand that in the main, the value of the catalytic converter for recycling is the main attraction to thieves, because they contain precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium.
What is Toyota doing to stop its cars being targeted?
We’re doing all we can. We’ve shared police guidance with customers, and we have developed and reduced the price of a ‘Catloc’ device which can deter theft and make it more difficult. We are urgently exploring new technical possibilities to deter criminals as well.
However, these are criminal operations and our scope is therefore limited. A number of police forces are taking action and some forces, such as Nottinghamshire, are also starting awareness campaigns. It is vitally important for anyone who is a victim of this crime to report it to their local police force as quickly as possible.
How much does the Catloc cost?
The Catloc costs between £200 and £250 (depending on model), which includes VAT and fitting by a Toyota retailer. It comes with three-year warranty.
Does a Catloc give my car 100% protection from thieves?
Sadly not. It can make theft more difficult but thieves are using high-powered cutting tools to remove catalytic converters and because of this it is not possible to make catalytic converters ‘unstealable’. As mentioned above, we’re doing all we can to seek further technical options for customers.
Is Catloc available for my Toyota?
Catloc devices are available for a proportion of our range, but not all. We recommend speaking to your local Toyota centre.
How much does it cost to replace a catalytic converter?
Toyota’s first priority is to do all we can to support our customers who have been victims of crime.
We have moved to reduce the prices of replacement catalytic converters and Catlocs to a level where Toyota GB does not make any profit from supplying them to customers.
Our recommended prices for a bundle that includes a new catalyst and a Catloc are £950 for Auris Hybrid, £1,000 for Prius Gen 2 and £1050 for Prius Gen 3.
Your nearest Toyota centre can advise on exact costs after inspecting your vehicle.
Is it true that there is a long wait for replacement catalytic converter parts for Toyota cars?
The rapid rise in this crime in 2019 is one we could not have envisaged, set against many years of low incidence of catalytic converter theft. This has impacted our ability to source enough of the parts we need in some cases, for which we sincerely apologise.
We have taken urgent action with our suppliers to try to resolve this. For example, our supplier of Auris catalysts has now increased daily production shifts from one to three, which we hope will allow us to tackle this issue and get customers’ cars back on the road more quickly.
If I’m worried about my Toyota model, what should I do?
We recommend you use our locator tool to find your nearest Toyota centre and contact them to discuss the best way to protect your car.
This article was last updated on 20 September 2019, so some of the responses to reader comments below have been superseded by more recent information.