The silent protector

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 May, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 May, 1993, 12:00am

THE Vecta anti-theft system is not the type of hypersensitive, deafening alarm that is set off when someone happens to walk too close to your car.

In fact, the the Vecta is a blessedly silent ''immobiliser'', which means that should a thief attempt to drive off in your car, he will not be met by that often impotent wail, but by stony silence and a car that will refuse to start.

According to claims by the Vector makers, not one car has been stolen under its own power when fitted with a Vecta - an impressive statistic given that it has now been on the British market for four years.

Mr Jeff Heselwood, Vectors public relations and marketing representative in Hongkong, is quick to point out that such is the reputation of the Vecta in Britain that it has been chosen by Aston Martin to be fitted as standard on its new DB7.

''We have similar kinds of deals in the pipeline here in Hongkong. If you own a luxury car here, it is now almost impossible to have it insured against theft,'' Mr Heselwood said.

The reason insurance companies are so unwilling to deal in anti-theft policies in Hongkong's is the high rate of car theft.

Last year, 6,918 cars were stolen in the territory and less than half of these were recovered.

This year, about 12 cars a day are being stolen and figures are likely to increase as the market in China for luxury cars grows.

The Vecta works by turning off various electrical components in the car. The choice of which component is up to the owner and he can include any part of the car's electrics.

Fitting for Vecta in Hongkong is being done by Autofit Ltd, whose anti-theft device fitters are vetted for security purposes. The installation of the unit can take anything from two to four hours, depending on the complexity of the car's electronics.

Once hooked up to your vehicle, most of the Vecta can be hidden away in the engine compartment and the only evidence that the device has been fitted is a red and green light emitting diode (LED) and a receptacle for the Vecta's hi-tech laser-etched key on the dash.

So complex is the technology behind these keys that, according to Vecta, they cannot be reproduced. The Vecta owner is given three copies and, should he lose all three, that is it . . . no replacements.

The laser-etched key allows the owner to de-activate Vector. Once the key is removed, the device automatically arms itself after 30 seconds and any attempt to drive the car away will be in vain.

According to Mr Heselwood, all attempts to crack the Vector have been failures.

''We think this is the best system in the world,'' he said.

''We have got patents pending worldwide and sales of 30,000 units in Britain last year proves that the system is a winner.''