from the October 2008 issue

Brazilian stolen-car wave spurs sales of Ituran tracking system

A new Brazilian law designed to fight soaring auto theft may triple the number of local customers for Ituran Location and Control Lid's tracking systems, according to Eyal Sheratzky, the Israeli company's co- chief executive officer. Ituran may boost its Brazilian client base to 500,000 in five years, Sheratzky was quoted. That would mean an average annual addition of 70,000 customers, 75 percent more than the current rate.

Brazil is Ituran's second-largest market after Israel. The company trails only Westwood, Massachusetts-based LoJack Corp. in tracking-system sales in the South American country.

"The potential is huge,'' said Sheratzky, 39. "As long as the regulation is enforced, the numbers will increase dramatically.'' All newly registered vehicles must have a tracking system installed by next August, under a rule passed in 2007. Brazil's vehicle fleet totaled 52.1 million at the end of June, according to the National Transit Department. The nation is adding 2.5 million new cars a year, while only one in 10 has a locater system, Sheratzky said. Brazil's car theft rate is triple that of the U.K. and U.S., with 15 vehicles stolen out of every 1,000, said Paul Burnley, a researcher at SBD in Northants, England. Fewer than half of the autos are recovered.

The sensors transmit an alert from a stolen vehicle to a call center, which then attempts to locate the car and sends agents to retrieve it with police.

The technology allows the company to switch off a car's engine remotely, Sheratzky said. That's useful in Brazil, where vehicle thefts often involve carjacking.

Ituran sells and leases tracking devices and gets monthly fees from uninsured individuals, who make up half of all vehicle owners in Brazil, as well as from insurance companies. The systems cost $400 to $500 each, while subscribers pay $15 a month for the tracking service, according to Chief Financial Officer Eli Kamer.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report October 2008

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