Australia’s top selling vehicle, the Toyota HiLux, is also a favourite among car thieves. But a technology update coming soon is designed to stop criminals in their tracks.

Toyota is about to introduce technology that aims to slam the brakes on thefts of one of Australia’s most stolen cars.

As reported exclusively by CarAdvice last year, thefts of the Toyota HiLux ute have more than doubled over the past 10 years as the vehicle has become more popular.

The Toyota HiLux ute has been Australia’s top-selling car for the past five years in a row and is on track to notch up a sixth annual win in 2021.

However, its popularity has also made it a target with professional car thieves.

Figures from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council show the Holden Commodore topped the hotlist of stolen cars last financial year.

However, thefts of Holden Commodores have more than halved over 10 years as Toyota HiLux thefts have soared.

Based on the latest data, thefts of Toyota HiLux utes are likely to overtake the tally for stolen Holden Commodores this financial year.

Almost a third of Toyota HiLuxes stolen in Australia are never recovered, and security experts suspect they are broken down for parts sold illegally here and overseas.

But from August 2021 onwards, examples of the Toyota HiLux bound for Australia will be equipped with embedded vehicle tracking technology to help pinpoint stolen cars – and the ability to automatically contact an SOS number that will, in turn, notify emergency services if the vehicle is involved in a serious crash.

The automatic dial-up is similar to technology introduced by Ford in certain models sold in Australia since 2014.

A confidential bulletin sent to Toyota dealers has advised the rollout of stolen vehicle tracking technology in the Toyota HiLux will start from August production this year, with the first vehicles equipped with the technology due in local showrooms from September or October onwards.

According to information sent to dealers, every model in the Toyota HiLux range will come with the embedded anti-theft tech, with the only distinguishing feature being a “shark fin” style aerial versus the current rubber “bee sting” aerial.

It’s unclear at this stage if professional car thieves will be able to circumvent the technology once the installation and location of the tracking system becomes common knowledge in the automotive repair industry.

The other cars with Toyota’s SOS and vehicle tracking technology include the Toyota Yaris Cross and recently updated Toyota Camry sedan.

Other key changes to the Toyota HiLux from August 2021 production include:

Dual zone air-conditioning will be standard equipment on SR5, Rogue, and Rugged X model grades, bringing the Toyota HiLux into line with top-end versions of rivals such as the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara.

Conspicuous by its absence, however, the updated Toyota HiLux still does not yet have individual tyre pressure monitors, even though key rivals such as the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok have had this technology for a decade.

Other changes: the Toyota HiLux Rogue will gain a 360-degree camera; the four-camera set-up is not available on other HiLux models at this stage.

Toyota Australia is yet to confirm any of the above information and the dealer bulletin says that while care has been taken regarding the accuracy of these details, the final specification is subject to change.

CarAdvice will update this story once the changes become official.

Vehicle type Top 10 thefts in 2009/2010 Top 10 thefts in 2019/2020 Percentage change
Holden Commodore 5037 2429 Down 52 per cent
Toyota HiLux 776 2064 Up 165 per cent
Toyota Corolla 422 867 Up 105 per cent
Ford Falcon 1318 749 Down 43 per cent
Nissan Pulsar (1995 to 2000) Not inside Top 10 519
Nissan Navara Not inside Top 10 447
Ford Ranger Not inside Top 10 441
Holden Captiva Not inside Top 10 390
Mazda3 Not inside Top 10 314
VW Golf Not inside Top 10 297
Holden Cruze Not inside Top 10 297
Toyota Camry 1149 Not inside Top 10
Hyundai Excel 1001 Not inside Top 10
Ford Laser 789 Not inside Top 10
Toyota Tarago 381 Not inside Top 10
Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series 355 Not inside Top 10