Top tips for preventing tool theft from vans

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Gareth Herincx

2 hours ago
Auto News

Car crime vehicle theft

UK tradespeople reported a staggering £3.5 billion worth of stolen equipment last year.

According to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, tool theft has increased by 33% since 2020, with a third (36%) of van drivers falling victim in the last year.

The average value of tools stolen per van last year stands at just over £2,000.

The study also revealed that almost half (48%) of van drivers confess to keeping more than £2,150 worth of tools in their vans overnight.

From a financial perspective, van owners who are on the receiving end of tool theft are at risk of an increase in future insurance premiums.

With theft on the rise, there has never been a more pressing time for van drivers to ensure that their vehicles are protected.

Here are Volkswagen Financial Services’ top tips on the best ways van drivers can protect their vehicles:

  1. Be a conscious parker – When possible, ensure that the van is parked in a well-lit place which is visible to passers-by, not in areas which are secluded and dark
  2. Stay alert, be aware – Check your surroundings before offloading your tools – savvy thieves can spot a high value tool and are willing to take risks to steal them
  3. Track your vehicle – Consider fitting your van, or tools, with a tracking device so that you can see where they are at all times
  4. “No tools on board” – The best way to prevent your tools from being stolen is to not leave them in the van, especially overnight. If you remove your vehicles from your van, then consider affixing a sign to the van saying ‘no tools left in vehicle overnight’
  5. Take note – If you do need to leave any tools in your vehicles, then ensure that they are security marked (noting the serial numbers of all tools is also advised). If your tools are tagged, then put a sticker on them to advertise this fact
  6. Taking extra precautionary measures – Sometimes tools have to be left in a vehicle, in a vulnerable location. If this is the case, then consider fitting additional safety locks to the rear and side door, or install lockable racking and safe boxes, making it harder for thieves to break in

Volkswagen ID. Buzz Cargo

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles understands the importance of incorporating theft prevention technology into its vehicles, to protect van owners.

For instance, the all-electric ID. Buzz Cargo is fitted with an anti-theft alarm system, interior monitoring in the cab, back-up horn and towing protection as standard. When activated, the anti-theft alarm system sounds the horn and activates the hazard lights, ensuring that bypassers are aware there has been an unwelcome intrusion.


Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Volkswagen ID.Buzz review

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

If the success of a new vehicle could be judged purely on kerb appeal and cult status, then the Volkswagen ID.Buzz is a winner.

This retro-cool reboot of the iconic VW camper generated more interest and positive comments from complete strangers during my road-test week than just about anything else I’ve driven over the last few years.

But here’s the thing – the 100% electric ID.Buzz isn’t just eye candy. Underneath that captivating exterior is a practical people carrier that’s easy and fun to drive.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

At launch, this eco minibus has five seats and features a 150kW electric motor powered by a 77kWh battery pack that delivers its power to the rear wheels. There’s also a cheaper commercial version (marketed as the ID.Buzz Cargo Van).

Sharing its underpinnings with the smaller ID.3 hatchback and ID.4 and 5 crossovers, it has a claimed range of up to 258 miles (closer to 200 miles in real-world driving).

With a charging power of up to 170kW, it’s possible to replenish the battery from 5-80% in as little as 30 minutes (using a rapid 150kw connection), and if you have a home wallbox it will charge overnight.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

If you’re familiar with Volkswagen’s ID family of EVs, you’ll recognise the minimalist front cabin which features a large central touchscreen and a ‘twisty knob’ gear selector positioned behind the steering wheel.

Sadly, this infotainment system is not without its critics. Too many of the vehicle’s main functionality is accessed via the touchscreen (including climate control), while the touch sensitive sliders below and on the steering wheel are fiddly.

Thankfully, the electrically adjustable driver’s seat is comfortable with a commanding driving position, offering an expansive view of the road ahead. There’s plenty of glass around the rest of the ID.Buzz too, so with the help of the reversing camera, manoeuvring isn’t as challenging as you might think. What’s more, it has a turning circle of just 11.1 metres.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

My test car also came with Park Assist Plus which can memorise up to five individual parking manoeuvres – such as you backing into your garage. All you do is park up, save the spot, and it will park itself automatically next time.

On the road, the ID.Buzz is amazingly nimble for its size (L= 4,712mm, W= 2,211mm x H= 1,937mm) and weight (up to 3 tonnes).

There’s something uncanny about driving a van-sized vehicle with instant torque that can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 10.2 seconds. The look on other drivers’ faces as you floor it to overtake is priceless – and it feels swifter than the official acceleration figure suggests.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

There are various drive modes (eg Eco, Comfort and Sport). Inevitably, Comfort is just fine for everyday motoring, because Eco dulls the driving experience and Sport is just fine for energy-sapping short bursts of fun. In fact, the only noticeable difference between the settings is the responsiveness and output of the throttle pedal.

Oh, and don’t forget the ‘B’ setting on the gear selector which can be used for higher levels of brake regeneration while you’re driving (especially useful on downhill stretches or when braking from speed for junctions).

But it’s not just about straight-line speed, the ID.Buzz is remarkably agile on twisty country roads, only let down by the brakes which seem to have a lot of travel before they engage, meaning that slowing down requires a little more anticipation and isn’t as smooth as it could be.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

As you’d expect with an EV, it’s smooth and refined. Yes, the ride is on the stiff side, so it’s not so forgiving on poorer surfaces, but overall it has more in common with a large car than a van.

Add direct and well weighted steering and it seems to defy physics and definitely puts a smile on your face.

So far so good, but perhaps the biggest surprise is that the ID.Buzz is so expensive at launch. There’s currently just the one model available with two trims.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

Starting at an eye-watering £58,915 for the entry-level Life spec, next up is the Style trim for £63,715. A flagship GTX will join the range soon, and it will have a dual motor four-wheel drive system.

A longer wheelbase version and camper van are also coming, and the latter will address the other current annoyance, which is the MPV cabin’s lack of flexibility.

At present, the rear seats can recline and slide to either improve the cavernous boot or increase legroom if pulled forward.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

Ideally, ID.Buzz owners want to be able to swivel the front seats round and have the ability to remove the rear seats altogether.

That said, boot capacity is one of the its biggest strengths. Even with five passengers on board, there’s 1,121 litres of cargo space. With the rear seats folded and pushed forward there’s a van-like 2,123-litre capacity.

And a special mention for the clever ‘Buzz Box’ – a removable storage compartment between the driver’s seat and front passenger seat.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

So, it isn’t perfect and there’s definitely room for improvement which future versions will address, but overall VW has done a great job with the ID.Buzz, which oozes style and character.

Awards for the ID.Buzz so far include Car of the Year and Best Large Electric Car at the What Car? Awards 2023, plus Best MPV and Electric Car of the Year at the 2022 Top Gear Awards. It’s also packed with safety and driver assistance tech, achieving a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating.

Verdict: Funky, functional, fun to drive, comfortable and safe, the retro-cool Volkswagen ID.Buzz has room for improvement, but such is its character, all is forgiven.

Volkswagen UK

Record-high tool theft from vans

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Car crime vehicle theft

Tool theft has soared in the last 12 months with more than a third of van drivers falling victim – up from a quarter the year before, according to a study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The average value of equipment stored per van stands at £2,500, which means UK tradespeople are footing a £4.4 billion bill for replacement tools every year.

In addition, the study found that when tools are stolen, it stops work for six days on average, causing UK businesses to lose a staggering £5.2 billion annually.

An increase in the number of van drivers leaving tools in their vehicles overnight, with three-quarters admitting to doing so compared to less than half in 2020, has created more opportunity for thieves. And just half of van drivers are taking extra precautions such as additional alarms, locks, and vehicle trackers.

While London remains the UK’s biggest tool-theft hotspot, the rate has reduced to 47% of van drivers from 55% in the previous year. That’s in contrast to Scotland (45%), the North West (41%) and North East (40%), which have recorded huge surges in tool theft in the past year. The South East is the area where van drivers are least likely to fall victim to a break-in.

Percentage of van drivers with tools or equipment stolen in the past year
Region 2021/22 2020/21
London 47% 55%
Scotland 45% 22%
North West 41% 25%
North East 40% 28%
Yorkshire and the Humber 38% 7%
Wales 36% 4%
West Midlands 36% 33%
Northern Ireland 35% 13%
East Anglia 33% 23%
East Midlands 32% 15%
South West 32% 10%
South East 28% 17%

“We’re shocked to see that cases have risen so much in the past year, as we know the impact on businesses and workers is massive,” said David Hanna, Head of Direct Sales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“Hopefully, these findings will prompt those with expensive equipment to take extra precautions, whether that’s additional security features on their vans, avoiding parking in secluded, poorly-lit areas, or taking an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day to unload their vans.”

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Suzuki Jimny LCV review

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV)

We get to grips with the new commercial version of the iconic Suzuki Jimny

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin with a back story to put the launch of the Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) into context.

The Suzuki Jimny has been with us since 1970 and some three million have found homes around the world.

During that time the dependable little 4×4 has developed a huge fanbase and is popular with both urban dwellers, country folk and serious off-roaders.

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV)

The current fourth generation car was launched to widespread acclaim in 2018, winning the World Urban Car trophy at the prestigious 2019 World Car Awards, amongst others.

However, it was dropped from the UK market last year because of strict emissions legislation – a real shame for the Japanese car manufacturer because it was a huge hit, with demand outstripping supply.

Now, Suzuki has reintroduced the Jimny as a light commercial vehicle, with the original vehicle’s rear bench seat removed to provide a flat loading bay and an 863-litre boot capacity.

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV)

Only available in “very limited numbers”, it will cost private customers £19,999, though some businesses will be able to pay £16,796 if they can reclaim the VAT.

The new Jimny “van” looks the same as the outgoing “passenger car” from the outside (cute and rufty tufty). Inside, the only other obvious clue that this is no ordinary Jimny is the black mesh cargo partition that prevents items flying into the front cabin.

There’s just one trim level available, so it’s not quite as well equipped as before. The dashboard and steering wheel are the same, but there’s no centre touchscreen this time round, for instance.

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV)

There are a few goodies all the same, including air conditioning, DAB radio, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), 15-inch Black steel wheels and cruise control with speed limiter.

Overall, the no-fuss interior is practical with wipe-clean surfaces and suitably placed grab handles for those mini adventures.

Most importantly of all, it’s still equipped with ALLGRIP PRO selectable 4WD with low transfer gear, 3-link rigid axle suspension, hill hold and descent control – the ingredients that help give this lightweight SUV its legendary off-road ability.

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV)

Powered by a punchy four cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine producing 101bhp, it comes with a five-speed manual gearbox. Fuel economy is up to 36.7mpg, while CO2 emissions are 173g/km.

Business users will need to know that it has a maximum payload and braked towing weight of 150kg and 1,300kg respectively.

We were treated to an exclusive first drive of the new Jimny off-road in deepest South Wales, though there was a little tarmac to sample its road-going manners, at an event to celebrate Suzuki’s rich and diverse history.

From its origins in textile manufacturing a century ago, Suzuki now sells 3.7 million cars and two million motorcycles every year, while its quad bikes and marine outboard engines are highly regarded globally.

How does it drive?

True to the 4×4 legend that the Jimny is, the LCV version is a real mountain goat of a vehicle, capable of reaching places other SUVs five times the price can only dream about.

Our Jimny coped effortlessly with steep inclines, thick mud tracks and water obstacles at the challenging Walters Arena vehicle development and test centre between Neath and Merthyr Tydfil.

It’s still not fast or a particularly sophisticated drive on the road, but there’s no denying its big personality and serious kerb appeal. In short, it’s one of those rare vehicles that puts a smile on your face the moment you set off.

Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV)

Of course, the Jimny LCV is not perfect. It’s cosy up front and the addition of the partition restricts rearward travel of the seats, making legroom a challenge for taller drivers.

Its modest 120kg maximum payload might be an issue if it’s used as a van, but perhaps the biggest problem is that it’s a strict two-seater, which cuts families out of the equation, for instance.

The reality is that with limited numbers available, the initial allocation of Jimny LCVs will be snapped up in no time, just like the passenger car version, with many finding their way onto the second-hand market at inflated prices.

Verdict: The two-seater Suzuki Jimny Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) is a dream come true for enthusiasts – and some of these “vans” may even have to earn their keep. Ultimately, it’s an affordable mini SUV that lives up to its superb off-road pedigree and can still put a smile on your face.