Lexus UK statement on vehicle theft

We take the issue of Toyota and Lexus vehicle theft very seriously. We are continuously developing technical solutions to make our vehicles more secure, to help reduce the risk of theft.

An enhanced security hardware system was introduced in October 2021 on the latest models targeted by criminals. Since which, we have seen a significant drop in thefts of those models.

For older models, we endeavour to create solutions that can offer enhanced protection to our customers.  Following significant investments by Toyota GB, in line with that of other vehicle manufacturers, newly developed official Toyota and Lexus security hardware components will very soon be available to fit to those targeted models registered before October 2021.

Following communication from Lexus in the coming weeks, owners should contact their local dealer to arrange free of charge fitment. Customers can already speak to their local dealer about the fitment of a protective plate to block access to the vehicle’s electronics. This is a nationwide customer care offering.

As a vehicle manufacturer, we can never completely eliminate the risk of vehicle theft. This is an industry-wide issue, concerning all vehicle manufacturers and affecting the most popular models first.

In order to further reduce the theft risk, we regularly collaborate and share information with insurance associations, police and law enforcement authorities, theft prevention experts and other key stakeholders around the world. This enables us to understand new threats and techniques used by thieves and develop more secured systems. 

Alongside our efforts, we urge those authorities to focus on reducing the number of thefts. We would also like to see action taken that leads to the end to the online sale of devices used by criminals to steal cars without using the car keys, as these devices serve no purpose other than a criminal one.

How do thieves manage to steal cars this way?

The thieves disconnect part of the headlamp and use a malicious device to send signals to the control CAN bus (the communication ‘backbone’ within a car) that allow the doors to open and the car to start without the key or remote control.

Thieves need to:

  • Purchase a relatively expensive rogue device (third-party ‘emergency start’ device which costs around £2,500 – £4,000 each)
  • Gain physical access to the vehicle’s CAN bus communication wires for an uninterrupted period.

The third-party ‘emergency start’ device has the capability to initiate an exploit in the following manner:

  • Once connected to the vehicle’s CAN bus communication wires, the third-party ‘emergency start’ device can send a prioritised series of CAN signals to bypass the vehicle’s security and immobiliser systems, which could allow a thief to unlock the doors and turn the vehicle’s ignition ON.
  • The third-party ‘emergency start’ device is then disconnected.
  • At this point a thief can enter the vehicle and start the car without the key

What is Lexus doing to prevent these types of attacks?

Lexus takes the issue of car theft very seriously.  We are continuously developing technical solutions to make our vehicles more secure to help reduce the risk of theft.

In the UK market, an enhanced security hardware was introduced in October 2021 on the latest versions of the models that had previously been targeted by criminals. Since then, we have seen a significant drop-off in terms of successful thefts of those models.

For older models we endeavour to create solutions that can offer enhanced protection to our customers.  We cannot divulge the precise nature of the imminent security enhancement; should we do so we risk offering information into the public domain that could be of interest to criminal parties.

The intention is to make the security enhancement available to all vehicles where a countermeasure is available. 

In October 2021 (introduction of NG NX), a new security platform started to be rolled out. There are no reports of theft using the CAN bus injection method on any model with the new platform.

What models are known to be targeted by this issue and are newer models affected?

The model primarily targeted is the Lexus RX Gen 4. Other models have also been targeted.

Which Lexus models can be fitted with the enhanced security feature?

It can be fitted to previous generation RX, NX, plus ES, LC, LS, RC, GS, UX and UXe

When did Lexus first become aware of the vulnerability in the security system?

It is not so much vulnerability of the security systems but more so the growing rise in criminal gangs targeting vehicles for ‘cannibalisation’ and / or complete theft. Instances appear to have been rising significantly from 2019-2020. There are many factors involved and at a global level. This includes parts of the world experiencing parts shortage which results in targeted thefts to supply vehicles and/or parts sent to countries experiencing trade restrictions.

When is the enhanced security upgrade going to be available and will it be free of charge?

Exact timings are still to be confirmed. We anticipate being able to advise the Lexus Centre network with full details soon. The required enhancement needs to be carried out at a Lexus Centre. Costs are under review and customers may incur a nominal charge.

Are new models such as the LBX targeted by thieves?

While no car can be considered 100% immune to criminal intent, more recent models are equipped with enhanced security systems aimed at deterring CAN bus type thefts.

Given that the rise in this type or car theft has been known for several years in other countries and is growing in the UK why wasn’t I told about this?

Lexus takes the issue of car crime very seriously. To protect customers’ vehicles our approach is not to disclose our vehicle theft analysis data. The sharing of information could enable thieves to find ways to circumvent anti–theft technologies or make some models particularly attractive to some thieves and unnecessarily vulnerable to attack.

Why are Lexus owners not being invited to install protective plates to their vehicles and why were they only supplied to London Centres?

Lexus offers a free of charge VPP (Vehicle Protection Plate) to any RX450h customer.  Every Lexus Centre across the UK has access to this part. Parts were issued to London Centres in the first instance in line with where the demand has occurred, but all Centres can order the VPP. The strategy is however, to focus attention not to the roll-out of the VPP but to a sophisticated vehicle enhancement.

What is the countermeasure and the plan moving forwards?

We are continuously developing technical solutions to make our vehicles more secure and reduce the risk of theft. An enhanced security hardware was introduced in October 2021 on the latest versions of the models that had previously been targeted by criminals. Since then, we have seen a significant drop-off in terms of successful thefts of those models.

Also we are able to supply and fit a VPP (Vehicle Protection Plate) to targeted RX models

We endeavour to make available another solution that can offer enhanced protection. Details will follow in the coming weeks. This will be communicated to the Lexus Centre network, which will also be responsible for fitting the enhanced security solution.

Why is there no recall for vehicles susceptible to the CAN bus attack?

Recall announcements in the UK are guided by very specific guidelines as drawn up by Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).  To qualify as a recall, the issue must relate to a safety or thermal type issue where there is potential for injury as a result of vehicle manufacture or component failure.  Only in these such circumstances can a recall be announced. 

In recall circumstances, the DVSA will provide manufacturers access to ownership records for purpose of communication.  Instances of theft do not trigger a recall.

Will Lexus pay for damage caused by an attempted theft?

No. This will need to be addressed by the customer and the vehicle insurers. While we understand theft or attempted theft can be highly upsetting and, in some cases, a costly experience, in such instances customers are first and foremost victims of crime.  Lexus does not cover costs associated with criminal activity either under the terms of the warranty or as goodwill.

What is the position with insuring affected models?

As a manufacturer, we stay close to Lexus Insurance colleagues and indeed all motor insurers. We are aware that in many cases, insurance premiums might have increased as a direct result of vehicle crime. We need to refer you to your insurer for further comment.

133 comments

  1. Over the last few weeks since this statement I’ve contacted my local Lexus dealer several times to try and get an update on this and book my car in, every time including today I just get a “we’re still waiting on an update ourselves” Type reply.

    This is very frustrating and it would be helpful to have an updated timescale of when I can reasonably expect to have this done, many thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Matt
      Do you mean a booking to have the vehicle protection plates fitted?
      May we have your vehicles registration number and which Lexus Centre you are referring to please.
      Kind regards

          1. Hi again,

            I’m referring to the “enhanced security upgrade”/ “imminent security enhancement” discussed in this article that will be offered, “We endeavour to make available another solution that can offer enhanced protection. Details will follow in the coming weeks. This will be communicated to the Lexus Centre network, which will also be responsible for fitting the enhanced security solution.”

            I’m sure I’m not the only one keenly waiting for news on this and wanting to get their car booked in.

            Thanks.

          2. Morning Matt
            Please register your interest with your local Lexus Centre and as per the article states:

            Following communication from Lexus in the coming weeks, owners should contact their local dealer to arrange free of charge fitment. Customers can already speak to their local dealer about the fitment of a protective plate to block access to the vehicle’s electronics. This is a nationwide customer care offering.

            Kind regards

          3. Hello again,

            We’re into May now, I’ve rang my local Lexus dealer again today regarding the CANbus work in this article and they’re saying that they’ve still had no update from Lexus UK.

            So I’ve got my local Lexus dealer saying they’ve heard nothing, and comments here from Lexus that I should contact my local Lexus dealer.

            I’m just going round in circles, so please, can you clarify or give any kind of update as to what’s going on with the CANbus fixes (NOT the protective plate) Promised in March?

            Many thanks.

          4. Hi Matt, thanks for getting in touch.

            We have no further information to offer at this time. We are still currently working on further updates and encouraging people to register their vehicles as at risk of CANbus theft with both ourselves and their local Lexus Centres so we can communicate information as it becomes available.

            Thanks,

            Lexus UK

          5. And now we’re in June without an update, I appreciate this information void isn’t the fault of the social media team on here, but how many cut and pastes of the “We are terribly sorry to hear that you have been affected by this awful crime.” Reply is acceptable?

            At the very least an honest update of progress I’m sure would be welcomed by all owners.

  2. Could you clarify please? I have a 2022 UX. Should I contact my Service Centre to have the plate fitted?

    1. Hi Charles
      Please may we have your vehicles registration number and we can check this for you.
      Kind regards

    2. Only the RX450h gets the special plate because they’re special and got into the top ten most stolen.
      The rest of us need to wait until April for the ‘new security hardware components’. I’m hoping it’s not just a roll of barbed wire to unroll round my car each time I park it. Oh, hang on. It’s already April! Over to you Lexus!

  3. Hello
    All 300+ comments appear to have been removed from this thread after I submitted my question yesterday (10/4/24) and I haven’t had a reply yet. So to restate, I recently bought a 2020 RX (GK20OBD) and I booked it in to Lexus Tunbridge Wells (09/04/24) to have the protective plate fitted to prevent theft. The booking was cancelled by the dealership the day before as they said they have zero stock left (of the plate) and could not say when the item will become available again. Are you able to give an indication of how long I might have to wait to get this item fitted? Also, do you know if insurance companies will be likely to reduce their premiums for those vehicles that have this item fitted? Finally, I have to say I’m disappointed that no mention was made that the car I bought was no.1 most stolen car in the country when I bought it last month.

    1. Hi William
      We are aware of this issue, and we are looking into this for a resolution. As soon as we can restore them, that will remain our intention.
      Lexus Tunbridge Wells have advised they have contacted you to make a booking, hopefully, you can arrange a time suitable with them soon.
      Kind regards

  4. Why would you delete the previous “affected models list” but states this is still the article you published on 13th March? Yesterday this article has more than 380 comments but now we have 6 comments.

    Take responsibility Lexus, you need to add the affected models list back, otherwise we shall sue you.

  5. It does seem very convenient that all 300+ comments were deleted. C’mon Lexus, do the right thing and fix this issue. This stinks of damage control now. I’m really looking forward to class action lawsuit and getting some compensation that I so rightly deserve!!!

    1. Hi Nick
      Thank you for your feedback.
      We can assure you that we are investigating the issue and hope to have this resolved soon.
      Kind regards

  6. Hi, Canadian owner of a 2024 Toyota Sequoia and about to get a 2024 RAV4.

    Are any of these improved systems you have developed available for our vehicles to prevent a CANBUS attack or key cloning?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Bill
      An enhanced security hardware system was introduced in October 2022 for Toyota, on the latest models targeted by criminals.
      Every vehicle has the risk of being stolen but we are only aware of two methods and they are, CANbus theft and Relay theft. Relay theft can be prevented if keys are kept in a faraday pouch and CANbus if vehicle protection plates are fitted.
      Kind regards

    2. Hello.
      I own a UX250H (AE20XZG).
      Would you please confirm whether this car is one of those affected by the Can bus theft and that protective plates are required.
      My local dealer is Lexus Stockport. I recently raised the matter with them and they replied that they know nothing about UX theft nor the need to fit protective plates as recommended by Lexus.
      Would you please confirm the postion regarding the UX.
      Thank you
      Adrian Alder

      1. Hi, I am very confused now the article above says the UX is Impacted, the previous comments(Now deleted) said my UX RV23*** was impacted despite being newer than this model, The dealer has said its not impacted, can you confirm who is correct , It all seems a bit of a mess!

    1. Hi Ozman
      May we have your vehicles registration number and we can clarify, if this is affected.
      Kind regards

        1. Hello Ozman,
          Thanks for your reply.
          While no car can be considered 100% immune to criminal intent, the RZ is not susceptible to CAN bus theft.
          Please let us know if you have any further questions.
          Thanks.

          1. Hi Thank you for your reply. This is great news. Please could you provide any further assistance available from Lexus / Toyota regarding any other vulnerabilities that RZ450e might have against theft other than CANbus method so that I can protect the vehicle and take necessary steps. Thank you

  7. I read the article about the thefts of Lexus cars in London along with the comments to contact your local dealer to see if your vehicle security could improved. I contacted Lexus Nottingham (Inchape) giving them the registration nos of both of my vehicles – a UXe & and RX500.
    I was advised to book the RX in for the plate to be fitted and that the UX was not affected. I’ve just picked the car back up to find that the plate did not not fit and my vehicle (an NX plate was ordered?) and my vehicle is not affected?
    A waste of several hrs of my time – there’s no wonder Lexus want to ‘restrict’ the availability of ‘upgrade’ given this level of competence.

    1. Hi Paul
      May we have the registrations of your vehicles possibly or if you are happy for us to speak with Lexus Nottingham about your concern we can?
      Kind regards

  8. We have our car booked in for a service and MOT next week at Lexus Bolton (NX 300h 2017). I telephoned today to see if the enhanced security could be fitted at the same time and was also told that the centre do not know what the process is yet and would not be able to do it.

    1. Hi Lynne
      May we have your vehicles registration so we can clarify this for you please.
      However, apart from the vehicle protection plates, they are correct about the enhanced security and as soon as this becomes available, we advise our dealer network accordingly.
      Kind regards

      1. Hello, I meant that the car is a 2021 (not 2017 that I put originally). The reg is MJ21 *** and is booked in for a service and MOT on Monday 22/4).
        Thank you.

        1. Hi Lynne, thanks for getting in touch.

          Your vehicle is deemed as vulnerable to CANbus theft. We would recommend registering it as eligible for the security update at your local Lexus Centre.

          Thanks,

          Lexus UK

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