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. Hi. I have lexus ux250h registered in march 2020. Is it affected by the can bus theft please? I emailed my local dealership in april 2024 and was told more information would be provided at the end of april. If my vegicle is affected it would be appreciated if lexus got in touch to resolve it. You guys have known about for ages but it is the customer who has to keep trying to find out the timeline of getting it fixed. It seems like we are just going round in circles.

    1. Hello Martina,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Please provide your vehicle registration so we can confirm this for you.
      Thanks.

        1. Hello Martina,thank you for the reply.

          Your vehicle is deemed as vulnerable to CANbus theft.
          We are currently working on further security enhancements, but have no update to offer at the moment.
          Please keep an eye on this page for any updates.
          You may wish to have a read of the following article to assist in the short term: https://mag.toyota.co.uk/car-security-advice-and-tips/

          Thanks,

          Lexus UK

    2. Dear Lexus,

      Fortunately, I still have my ES300h, 71 registered, despite attemped theft in London at the weekend via the nearside front headlamp connector. The bumper surround had been dislodged; for some reason the prospective thief did not manage to get away with the car.
      My dealership was excellent and sorted the damage on Monday.
      They told me they are awaiting a software update for the ES.
      When will that be, and how will I be I formed of its availability?

      1. Hello Michael,thank you for getting in touch.

        We are terribly sorry to hear that you have been affected by this awful crime.
        There is no information available on the security enhancement just yet.
        We are asking people to get in touch with their Lexus Centre so that they can be notified by them when this security enhancement is available.

        Thanks,

        Lexus UK

  2. Hello, I own an IS300h, reg BT65GVM and live in London, am I eligible for the VPP please?

    1. Hello Roger,
      Thanks for your question.
      As the IS 300h is not vulnerable to this type of theft, it is not eligible for the Vehicle Protection Plate.
      We hope this helps.
      Thanks.

    1. Hello Brian,thanks for getting in touch.

      Whilst we do not have any of our own data to offer advice on 2nd immobiliser/ghost immobiliser, it is widely reported to us by owners and in the press that these “second stage” immobilisers can be effective in preventing a vehicle from being started, although it would not prevent access into the vehicle. Sadly, if a thief wishes to gain access to any vehicle, it is very difficult to prevent this.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

  3. Would a dealer be expected to fit the plates I have just read about, I bought a 2 year old RX450H from a authorised dealer, the experience was poor so I suppose I know the answer, but feel this should be a standard practice for traded in vehicles, knowing what dealers and Lexus know, If someone made me aware of such an easy target I would have purchased an alternative make, I got stranded 200 miles from home as my car has been stolen, does the manufacture not accept any responsibility for such a weakness on such a car, and does lexus offer support when the insurance pays less for the car than was paid or are they just happy to lose customers

    1. Hello Paul,thank you for getting in touch.

      We are terribly sorry to hear that you have been affected by this awful crime.
      Please be assured this is a matter that we are taking extremely seriously.
      We are continuously developing technical solutions to make our vehicles more secure and reduce the risk of theft.
      While we understand 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.
      Once again, we are really sorry that you have been affected by this horrible crime and for the distress this has caused.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

  4. Read this too late. My ES300h was stolen last night. CCTV footage shows someone working around the front wheel and then later it was driven off.

    Even more disappointed when Lexus Insurance said they will “put my claim on hold for 7 days” whilst it is investigated and only after that will then consider a courtesy car, despite the fact that I have enhanced courtesy car cover. Also said they cannot guarantee a courtesy car as they’re “subject to availability”.

    I’ve been a loyal Lexus customer for many years, but as I sit on the train home from London, I’m not sure I’ll be getting another one…

    1. Hello Paul,thank you for getting in touch.

      We are terribly sorry to hear that you have been affected by this awful crime.
      Please be assured this is a matter that we are taking extremely seriously.
      Do provide us with an update on Lexus Insurance after they next get in touch should there be anything we need to try and assist with.
      Once again, we are really sorry that you have been affected by this horrible crime and for any distress this has caused.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

  5. My ES300h was stolen on 22 May. CCTV footage shows someone working around the front wheel and then later it was driven off.
    Fortunately I am registered with lexus app, which was tracking my car and I went after it found the car and brought it back. The issue with car is now, it shows alot of warnings ⚠️ in the app and also in the car, when the indicator is on. I did contact the lexus dealer asking can it be fixed because the car is still under warranty they said not with warranty. I told them that i serviced the car by approved lexus dealer ever years. And what’s the point of service if they don’t want to repair the car. Lexus knows the there is CANbus in the market for theft.

    Even the car is still under 60000 miles, which should have full warranty. I am really disappointed and never expected that from lexus.

    1. Hello N.Sardar,thank you for reaching out.

      We are terribly sorry to hear that you have been affected by this awful crime.
      Please be assured this is a matter that we are taking extremely seriously.
      We are continuously developing technical solutions to make our vehicles more secure and reduce the risk of theft.
      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.
      Once again, we are really sorry that you have been affected by this horrible crime and for the distress this has caused.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

  6. I have recently purchased a 2020 Lexus 450h from a Lexus dealer and am keen to know whether a ‘protective plate’ has been fitted to my vehicle registration number *******. I read about having advanced security being fitted either CAN Phantom or Ghost 2 immobilisers. Is this something that Lexus can do or do I have to go to a specialist car security Company.? Is their any other form of security I should be aware of please.

    1. Hello Dennis,thank you for getting in touch.

      Using the registration provided, this vehicle does already have the plates fitted.
      There is no information available on the security enhancement just yet.
      We are asking people to get in touch with their Lexus Centre so that they can be notified by them when this security enhancement is available.
      Whilst we do not have any of our own data to offer advice on 2nd immobiliser/ghost immobiliser, it is widely reported to us by owners and in the press that these “second stage” immobilisers can be effective in preventing a vehicle from being started, although it would not prevent access into the vehicle. Sadly, if a thief wishes to gain access to any vehicle, it is very difficult to prevent this.
      For further hints and tips may we suggest checking on this page: https://mag.lexus.co.uk/car-security-advice-and-tips/

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

    2. Hi,
      Has there been any progress on a solution for the vehicles that are not offered a protective plate? I know my vehicle is affected, and have been waiting to hear about a solution. It has been a few weeks since you made this announcement, so it would be nice to get an update. My local lexus centre still has no clue about this canbus security flaw and for lexus to deny it is their fault and refuse to help owners whos vehicles are then stolen due to this flaw is plain irresponsible and unreasonable. The vehicle is purchased with the understanding that it’s secure unless the key is accessed or cloned or signal hijacked. But in this case every lexus owner affected would not have known of this security flaw and if they did I don’t think would have purchased the vehicle. Your product is not fit for purpose or secure as advertised.

  7. Can you confirm NX300h 2018 is vulnerable to Can Bus theft? My local dealership are unhelpful in this matter – the first colleague had no idea of the solution of a protection plate and the call had to be passed on. This is after multiple calls since March and being told not in stock yet. Also will it be free?

    1. Hello M O,thank you for getting in touch.

      Please could you provide your registration number so we can follow up.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

        1. Hi there,
          Any NX models that were produced in 2018 are deemed as vulnerable to CANbus theft.
          We are currently working on further security enhancements, but have no update to offer at the moment.
          Thanks.

  8. Hi I take delivery of a new Lexus ES 300h Premium ( factory order latest model) next week.
    Can you confirm all new models have the CanBus protection plate already fitted.

    1. Hello Shane,thanks for getting in touch.

      Great choice on the Lexus ES 300h.
      Please may we get the registration or chassis (VIN) number so we can follow up.

      Thanks,

      Lexus UK

  9. Hi, I have contacted you before as I am sure my UX 250h HV69 BBX is susceptible to canbus attack.I have contacted my local dealer and informed them of my interest in having the security plate fitted but would another solution be that Lexus contacted the manufacturer of the Ghost 2 can-bus immobiliser and purchased the required amount and fitted them to the compromised vehicles at cost price, at the moment if you contact the commercial installers they are quoting a price of, £499 .I am sure that price could be greatly reduced

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