6th June 2017
Luxury vehicle rental firms increasingly targeted by criminal gangs
A mere few weeks ago, a six-figure Bentley Continental GT was stolen by a Dutch car rental company’s seemingly bona fide customer. The thief wasted no time in driving across into Germany and then on to Denmark, before ending up in Lithuania, where the tracking signal was lost.
The case was highlighted by Dr Ken German1, an expert vehicle crime consultant who spent 25 years working for The Met and now aids the police, motor insurers, loss adjusters and others with vehicle theft investigation and recovery. Ken’s not yet commented on the outcome of this particular instance of luxury rental vehicle theft, but the way in which they were able to track the stolen Bentley across Europe highlights the benefit of investing in the latest tracking technology.
Earlier this year, over in South Africa2, a criminal duo were caught on CCTV crawling across the floor of a vehicle showroom before making off with a BMW X6, Range Rover Evoque, Toyota Land Cruiser and a scintillating collection of Mercedes SUVs in the form of a G63, ML400 and ML63.
Commenting in a newspaper article on the heist, private investigator, Danie Day, revealed that the majority of such stolen vehicles are shipped to other countries, including the Middle East. “There is a high demand for luxury German cars such as Audis‚ BMWs and Mercedes Benz especially if these cars are rental vehicles”, Day added.
A luxury car rental firm in Abu Dhabi3 also became a victim of criminal gang activity in February, twelve men caught and put on trial for stealing nine vehicles including a Lamborghini. Posing as genuine rental customers, the gang were involved in receiving forged customs documents and altering the vehicles’ serial numbers and other paperwork before exporting them advertised as new cars.
With cases such as these reinforcing how car hire firms are being targeted at the current time, what can be done to address the growing problem?
Here at Trak Global Group, our leading telematics platform provides rental companies with actionable data, enhancing their hire fleet logistics and asset management. Trak Global’s i-Box solution is utilised by many daily rental companies for tracking their vehicles, enabling them to see exactly where they are in real-time.
Geo-fencing and POI alerts make it possible to detect when rental vehicles are off-hired and can equally be utilised to flag whether vehicle delivery drops have been made on-time, or if a rental fleet vehicle has entered an unauthorised zone such as a border crossing or repair centre.
Playing a significant role in stolen vehicle recovery, the i-Box telematics device is Thatcham CAT 6 certified and therefore perfectly equipped to counter the growing levels of car theft that are prevalent across Europe and other parts of the world. Our engineering team is able to carry out covert security fits at individual vehicle or fleet level, and in the event that a vehicle is identified as stolen, our monitoring team is able to coordinate interactions with the authorities and approved repatriation agencies, resulting in the car’s recovery.
Inter-agency cooperation across European borders hopefully won’t be detrimentally affected in the post-Brexit landscape and car rental companies, especially those hiring luxury vehicles, can irrespectively reduce their vulnerabilities by vetting customers more thoroughly and employing the latest in telematics and vehicle tracking solutions.