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Keyless car safety alert: Tests on 19 manufacturers including BMW, VW and Ford cars show how thieves can break into vehicles with start button ignitions using an 'easily built' electronic device

  • German Automotive Club tested 24 different cars with keyless technology
  • They were easily able to unlock them all using a simple electronic device
  • More than 10,000 cars with keyless technology stolen in London in 2015

A safety alert has been issued over cars with keyless technology after tests in Germany revealed how thieves could break into them with an 'easily built' electronic device.

The German Automotive Club said it tested 24 different cars with new keyless technology to examine how secure they were from thieves.

But their research found all of the vehicles they selected could be easily unlocked using an electronic device it said was simple to make.

The group has warned drivers to increase their vigilance but the findings will be alarming for the owners of thousands of luxury keyless cars in circulation across the UK.

In September it was reported that around 10,000 cars with keyless technology had been stolen in London since the start of 2015.

The technology - built into new models produced by a number of major manufacturers - allows drivers to get into their vehicles and start the engine without having to dig keys out of their pockets.

In many models, cars unlock when sensors in the vehicle communicate with the key as the owner approaches.

The German Automotive Club experts tested 24 different cars of models made between 2013 and 2015 from 19 manufacturers including BMW, VW, Toyota and Ford.

They say they were able to open every car within seconds using a device that could be built out of every-day electronic items.

According to one of the group's technicians, thieves are able to extend the transmission-range of the key from two to three metres to 'a few hundred metres'.