In a unique update, the New Zealand Police have issued a warning to Toyota Aqua owners detailing how their otherwise innocuous cars are being targeted by car thieves.
Also known as the Prius C, the Aqua is currently New Zealand’s most popular Japanese import, regularly topping the local charts for most of 2021 due to its affordability and its hybrid powertrain.
“Police in Auckland are seeing a trend of these vehicles being stolen and in some cases being used to go on and commit other crimes including commercial burglaries,” says the New Zealand Police.
Along with the statement, the police published a video that appears to show that Aquas are an ideal size for ‘ram raid’-style burglaries.
The video also notes that thieves are gaining access to Aquas most commonly by breaking the small windows behind the front wing-mirrors. Most models, the video notes, don’t have immobilisers.
“This is really concerning and we want to warn those car owners to take precautions to keep their vehicle safe,” they add.
“We are suggesting ensuring your vehicle has an immobiliser. If this is not an option then there are a number of other ways to keep your car safe including purchasing a steering wheel lock, parking your car in a garage or getting a car alarm.”
The Aqua is not the first car to be targeted for these reasons. The Mazda Demio/2 remains one of the country’s most stolen vehicles, primarily because of their ease of access and because of their size for robberies.
Ironically, this is the second time that Toyota hybrids have been reported on as being a target for thieves.
Earlier in the year reports were published detailing how the standard Prius was being targeted in New Zealand by would-be metal merchants for its easily accessible and stealable catalytic converter. These are full of rare metals, and can be valuable to metal dealers.