GM upgrades SUV security to combat car thieves image

GM’s popular big SUVs, including the Suburban, Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, control about three-quarters of the market, have high theft rates and are expensive to insure.

Third-row seat and wheel thefts on the SUVs have become increasing problems across the country, from Texas to Detroit, as thieves take and sell parts.

To minimize the problem, the Detroit carmaker has added a suite of standard anti-theft features, and an enhanced optional security package for $395, to all its 2015 full-size utilities coming to showrooms early next year. New security features also are part of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, also available in spring 2014.

“We’ve put a lot of technology into improving the security for our customers, everything from our glass breaking sensors in the quarter glass area to … interior movement sensors,” said Jeff Luke, GM executive chief engineer for GM’s global trucks.

Other automakers offer some anti-theft features, but GM’s Global Vehicle Security Lead, Bill Biondo, says GM’s package is the most “robust and significant theft deterrent package in the market.”

The 2015 Suburban and Tahoe will for the first time come equipped with a standard steering column lock, aimed to prevent a thief from being able to steer a vehicle out of a driveway without starting it, Biondo said. Steering column locks already come standard on the Yukon line.

GM also will offer a theft protection package that includes an interior motion sensor that sounds an alarm if movement is detected inside the vehicle. On GM’s current full-size SUVs, if someone breaks a window to steal a laptop, for example, the alarm doesn’t go off.