car theft

Brazil will implement a high-tech solution to combat growing rates of car theft

Brazil has delayed until next year plans that will require all new vehicles to be equipped with GPS-based anti-theft vehicle tracking systems.

The country's National Traffic Council (CONTRAN) issued a new resolution November 24 that says all new passenger cars and trucks will require such telematics systems by the end of 2011. The rule applies to vehicles built in Brazil and those imported into the country.

The controversial measure was first announced in July 2007, after CONTRAN had been tasked in 2006 with establishing a system to deal with Brazil's growing car-theft problems.

A deadline was set for the end of 2009, but implementation was delayed as the measure met with strong resistance, including legal challenges.

Under the new timetable, fitment of the telematics systems will be phased in in the course of 2011 with passengers requiring a 20 percent fitment rate on May 1, 2011, a 70 percent rate on October 1 and full implementation by year-end. The schedule takes into account the wishes of automakers and suppliers, CONTRAN said.

Car theft is a major issue in Brazil, as well as in many other Latin American countries. As a result, the market for vehicle tracking systems is expected to grow rapidly in coming years.

According to C.J. Driscoll & Associates, a US research and consultancy firm, Brazil’s vehicle theft rate is four times higher than in the US. The situation is similar in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, and in several other Latin American countries.

In a recent report on the Latin American vehicle tracking market, C.J. Driscoll estimates that about 1 million fleet vehicles have GPS systems on board already, with 60 percent of these operating in Brazil or Mexico.

In addition, C.J. Driscoll said more than 3 million cars are equipped with stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) or telematics solutions that include security and convenience features.

The consultants estimate that, in 2010, Latin American revenues from vehicle location hardware sales and services for fleets and consumers will total nearly 1.5 billion dollars. Underscoring the potential of the market, C.J. Driscoll projects that revenue to grow to nearly 2.7 billion dlrs by 2014.

By Arjen Bongard