Toyota South Africa has rubbished reports that a vehicle theft syndicate had been using a "Toyota master key" to give it access to any Toyota vehicle.
According to a report in The Star newspaper, five men were arrested in Garsfontein on Thursday after being found in possession of a "Toyota master key". But the manufacturer says no such thing exists.
"No overall master key exists that would give Toyota, a vehicle owner or any other party access to any Toyota vehicle. Each vehicle is issued with its own master key and any replacement key would require the vehicle's original master key to enable duplication," Toyota SA said in a statement on Thursday.
"In cases where a vehicle's original key is not available, Toyota SA Motors requires a new Electronic Computer Unit (ECU) and master key set for the specific vehicle. This is ordered from Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan and is linked to the vehicle's Vehicle Identity Number (VIN)."
Toyota goes on to say that it has been made aware of illegal override systems for all vehicles, and not only Toyota vehicles. The company has since changed its vehicle coding and immobiliser system to block any further override attempts.
The cars-to-order syndicate was believed to operate from Soweto, the newspaper reported.