Please give us a short background to your company and the broad product categories that you support and sell (VSC, GAP, Theft, etc)
IAS aftermarket products include GAP, Theft, Tire and Wheel, Key Replacement, Roadside Assistance, Door Ding Protection, Windshield Repair or Replacement, and Interior and Exterior protection products.
There are many different types of products in the Theft category. Which ones do you support and why?
Window Etching – Theft Avert – Overtly enables quick identification by Law Enforcement as to the owner to prevent the rebirthing of a vehicle simply by changing the VIN plates and door labels.
Vehicle Tracing – Invisible Phantom Footprints – Covertly marks sheet metal to enable verification of ownership of parts using UV markers in multiple locations. Even if the label is removed, the UV mark can be used to identify ownership.
DNA Identification Technology – DataDot Technology overtly and covertly marks 60-80 high value components with microdots. Thus, even the smallest part can be identified. There is no effective way to remove 1000 microdots from the vehicle, making it too hot to handle. Also, the DataTrace in the adhesive is UV sensitive and also resistant to burning. The ceramic micro-particles are basically indestructible.
Which type of Theft products do you not support and why?
GPS Products are not currently supported. We have found that most automotive thefts are parts related. The individual parts of a car are worth more than the vehicle itself in most cases. That’s why it is important to have a suite of products that offers multiple layers of protection. Also, most radio or GPS based products are defeated by removing the power within a garage or parking structure and then removing the device. In addition, triangulation based tracking of cars is impractical as the vehicle is moving, keeping law enforcement one step behind.
Additionally, the one-time cost to enroll in protection is important to many consumers. Many GPS systems require annual renewals which may be expensive.
In which circumstances do you encourage dealers to sell each type of Theft product?
Window etching is the oldest technology and is the lowest cost. Vehicle tracing works well as an upgrade to the etching for windows. DataDot Technology is a next generation product and may be cost prohibitive in some instances (fleet or wholesale operations). Some dealers opt to sell a combination of two which allows for maximum protection for their customers. All of these options are many times less expensive than even the entry level GPS or radio based systems.
How does the future look for Theft products in the F&I Suite and which type of Theft products do you believe will be the most successful?
RFID technology is quickly becoming a reality in parts marking. The RFID markers could be connected to a GPS device. Then if an individual part is taken, the GPS sends a signal to the owner via text or email. Basically, if one part is moved while the remainder of the vehicle is motionless, it activates the signal of potential theft. This technology is 2-5 years away, and may even be incorporated at the OEM level.
Also, OEM’s around the world are participating in the Whole of Vehicle Marking program. These manufacturers find that the theft systems not only prevent theft, but also serve to defend the brand. Counterfeit parts represent a significant safety hazard to unsuspecting consumers buying parts over the internet that may look the same but are made of inferior materials. OEM’s have begun to combat this problem by marking the parts as authentic at the point of manufacturing.
As long as there is vehicle theft, there will be the need for theft products. The most successful dealers preload their inventory with theft prevention products. Also, 18 states require insurance companies provide discounts to their customers if they purchase a theft deterrent system.
The fact is, professional car thieves steal vehicles to chop them up and sell them for parts. Any theft deterrent that aims at devaluing those parts for car thieves will be successful.