Usefulness of smark keys in cars

This thread got me thinking.

How successful are smart/transponder keys, for cars, in preventing auto theft?
Have they been shown to actually reduce loss rates? With the extremely high cost of replacement keys, a cynical corner of my mind wonders if this is mostly just another way for the dealers to make money.

The first stats I was able to find indicates that, at least 5 years ago, they did help.
This site has the table I’m going by:

To find the table, open the above URL and Click Edit, then Find and query for “Effect of passive immobilizing antitheft devices on theft losses”

It appears that depending on the vehicle in question, the effect ranges from substantial to statistically insignificant.
In the case of the Nissan Maxima, circa '98-99, the “Claim frequency per 1,000 vehicle years” goes from 7.8 to 3.0 when the system is added.
In the case of the Ford Ranger 4x4, circa '98-99, the “Claim frequency per 1,000 vehicle years” goes from 2.0 to 2.0 when the system is added.
So, basically no change at all in that vehicle.

I didn’t see any links that answer MY question: “Now that more cars have this kind of system, is that lowering car theft over-all?”

Keep in mind that it’s marketing people, not dealerships, who decide on whether these types of things are added to vehicles. Then you can thank the accountants for not demanding that they be removed. :wink:

I think these systems may or may not reduce the number of thefts… what they are doing is changing the way things are stolen.

while I have not looked into this real hard, I would be willing to bet a box of doughnuts that car jacking has picked up.

Ignition systems on cars today can still be bypassed it just takes longer. The days of breaking into and driving off in a GM in under 2 minutes are over for the most part.