Mike Stevens | Oct 13, 2009

National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC), current vehicle identification labels are too easily forged by car thieves, the fake labels contributing to stolen cars being 're-birthed' and registered for the road.

Ray Carroll, Executive Director for the NMVTRC, said four-wheel-drives - Toyota models in particular - are the most common vehicles found to have counterfeit VIN labels.

"When we do tables of the most expensive insurance payouts for cars less than 10 years old, Toyota four-wheel-drives are always up there in the top 10, and whenever the police uncover a rebirthing racket, it invariably involves four-wheel-drives," Mr Carroll said.

vin-labels Mr Carroll said that Holden and Ford vehicles feature the same easily forged labels, but that Ford has recently advised the council of plans to switch to a new type of label.

The NMVTRC is pushing for manufacturers to switch to the more advanced Indentitek system, which crumbles and breaks down if an attempt is made to remove it.

Similar to a driver's licence, the Indentitek labels feature a hologram that cannot be counterfeited through the usual means of scanning and duplicating the label on a computer before printing it onto a new label.

Mr Carroll acknowledged that Mazda uses a laser-engraved VIN label which is harder to counterfeit, but "still possible to forge".

"We'd argue that just about all car companies that don't use these [Identitek]security labels are at risk from this sort of crime."

The new labels, at $1.40 each, carry a higher cost than the traditional labels used by most manufacturers, which cost around 40 cents per car.

Manufacturers already using the Identitek technology include Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, HSV, Hyundai, Isuzu, Jeep, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Kawasaki.

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+