Retailers are going to extreme lengths in order to deal with a spike in crime.
Catalytic converter theft is on the rise in North America. According to a report published by Carfax, it’s up “roughly 1,215% from 2019.” When you consider how much a new catalytic converter can cost to replace, as well as how valuable the precious metals found within catalytic converters are, it’s obvious why criminals are eager to steal them.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau recently published some mind-boggling statistics about the value of the metals: As of March 2022, rhodium was priced at USD $20,000 per ounce; palladium at USD $2,938 per ounce; and platinum at USD $1,128 per ounce.
While individual vehicle owners are often targeted for theft, so are dealerships. Thieves can raid a dealer’s lot during the night, and make off with dozens of catalytic converters within a very short period of time.
Quebec-based TVA recently aired a report about HGregoire Mitsubishi Laval where catalytic converter theft is a huge problem. The store’s General Manager, Philippe Lamarre said that customers show up at the dealership “every morning with a missing catalytic converter.”
While security cameras and fences can deter thieves, Lamarre explained that to prevent theft at his dealership, every new vehicle, or trade-in, that arrives at the store is first taken to the service bays where the catalytic converter is removed. Only then is the vehicle parked outside on the lot and made available for sale. Once a vehicle is purchased, it goes back into the service bays where part of the dealer prep includes reconnecting the catalytic converter.
“It’s an extra expense” Lamarre admitted, but one he feels is necessary in order to avoid the costs associated with purchasing and replacing a stolen catalytic converter before delivering a vehicle to a customer.
Since catalytic converter theft is a major challenge, and consumers are justifiably concerned about being targeted by thieves, HGregoire Mitsubishi Laval has managed to turn the problem into an opportunity. The dealership has found a solution, and they’re making it available to customers.
According to the TVA report, the dealership is offering a stainless steel cover, installed by the service department, that customers can purchase in order to dissuade thieves. The police officer quoted in the TVA report said that thieves need as little as 30 seconds to steal a catalytic converter. However, with a cover that the thief can’t easily cut through or remove, a thief is likely to move on to the next vehicle, rather than waste time trying to deal with the cover.
The TVA reporter explained that HGregoire Mitsubishi Laval is currently selling the stainless steel cover to customers, providing an extra layer of security. The dealership’s supplier, Quebec-based B-Shop, only makes covers for the Mitsubishi RVR. Dealers who are interested in offering a similar theft-deterrent to their customers will have to search online for catalytic converter covers made to fit the brand and models available on their lots.