Research and Markets: Parts Marking in the Fight Against Car Crime

July 20, 2005

Research and Markets( has announced the addition of Techniques for Vehicle and Component Identification to their offering

The necessity to mark components and vehicles is partially derived from legal requirements, and partially from insurance demand. In addition, police forces are keen to encourage both overt and covert marking systems to help them identify whether suspicious components or vehicles are actually stolen.

The purpose of this report is to explain what markings are necessary, and what techniques are available to meet those necessities in key world markets, and also to analyse the different marking techniques to evaluate the most effective technique for a given application.

Changing trends in car crime have given measures to help retrieve stolen vehicles and apprehend thieves added importance. The successful application of systems such as engine immobilisers and deadlocking has brought a sharp fall in the number of casual thefts of newer cars for joyriding. By consequence, professional criminals are now responsible for a greater proportion of car crime, with a higher incidence of vehicle keys being stolen in order to bypass sophisticated security measures.

The marking of car parts – both visibly and secretly – is an important aid to identifying a stolen car and returning it to its rightful owner, or tracing the source of individual components. This new report “Techniques for Vehicle and Component Identification” details the legal requirements for parts marking in force around the world, analyses the different methods used and predicts how the practice will develop in years to come.

It is believed that parts marking will increase in Europe and other key car markets in the next five to 10 years with the introduction of new legislation and insurance requirements and initiatives from car manufacturers designed to fight car crime.

Laws enforced in Europe and the USA require all vehicles to be marked on the body or frame with a unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), engines to be clearly numbered and a VIN plate to be attached to the car. In the USA additional parts labelling is required and the VIN plate must be clearly visible from outside the vehicle.

Additional forms of marking are required by insurers in the UK, Sweden and South Africa, in line with each vehicle’s degree of theft risk. These include visible VIN plates, glass etching and the marking of components with microdots, labels or ink or by stamping, engraving or chemical processes.

This analysis of the legal and insurance requirements around the world is supported by detailed studies of individual techniques for vehicle and component identification. These include the future development of electronic vehicle identification (EVI) systems, using a concealed transponder unit to transmit unique data to a remote reader. This technology has the potential to support other functions, such as automatic toll collection and stolen vehicle tracking.

The report also details the use of microdot parts marking in Australia and New Zealand and the significant impact this has had on car crime statistics. The report demonstrates that this is not the most cost effective all-round solution at this time, and warns that tougher regulations are likely to demand more secure marking techniques in the future.

Companies/brands mentioned:

– Mercedes E-class

– Citroen

– Toyota

– Chrysler

– LandRover Freelander

– Audi A6.

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