Audi RS4 seats targeted
Audi RS4 owners are facing a new crime trend, with their vehicle's front seats are being ripped out of the vehicles and stolen. Reports state that the seats in any RS4 parked in a street, especially those in London, are not safe.
Why are thieves targeting the Audi RS4 seats?
The so-called B7 version of Audi's practical supercar was sold between 2006 and 2008 and only approximately 2,000 RS4s were made. As the seats are known for their durability, it is believed they are being taken because of a new "fashion" in modification called OEM-plus, whereby original equipment manufacturer parts from high-end vehicles are stripped from top marques to use in lower-end vehicles. Fitting the seats is made easy by the fact that most car manufacturers have a number of brands with their models usually sharing platforms and parts.
For those who have been victims of this crime, motor insurers are saying that the £19,000 cost of replacements is just too prohibitive and are writing their vehicles off. This is because the RS4 seats are not produced by the Audi company anymore and now have to be imported in parts. The parts can take more than 20 hours to fit to get the Audi back up to spec, hence the high cost.
An example of the Audi RS4 seat crime
Adam McKenzie, an energy trader of South London, discovered that his seats had been stolen. According to McKenzie, he stepped out of his South London home late in January and saw the broken windows. His beloved RS4 performance saloon had been broken into but when he got closer he realised that, working right under his bedroom window, the thieves had managed to unbolt both his front seats and squeeze them out of the smashed window. His insurance company told him that to fix the 2007 car and replace the seats would cost £19,000. Although worth about £26,000, meaning McKenzie's once immaculate, low-mileage car would be written off.
He commented, “I was just gobsmacked. In a way I was impressed with how it had been done.” He went on to say that he may never buy a RS4 again, “I'd love another, but after this I don't think I could face it.”
How are the criminals able to steal the Audi RS4 seats?
The crime is made easier for the criminals as there is no identification or tagging linking seats to the original vehicles, with the seats being sold on the likes of eBay with impunity. Audi confirmed that they still don't put VIN numbers on or tag the latest RS4 seats, something which annoys McKenzie, “It's not going to stop unless they [Audi] help existing owners,” he said, pointing out that identification data tagging on (Audi-owned) Ducati motorcycles has been standard since the late Nineties.
An ineffective car alarm system also comes into play as Anthony Noto of alarm company Secure My Car commented, “The RS4 security system is very poor. The siren is very quiet and the sensors can be disabled in seconds.” Mr Noto added that he knew of some 30 seat-theft cases in the London area in the past year, with most of them being from Audi RS4s.