Auto theft has become a serious and costly problem for our society. Approximately one million motor vehicles have been stolen each year for the past several years. A new approach to help solve this problem was introduced in 1986. It was developed after careful study of theft techniques and is based on the philosophy that introducing an unavoidable time delay for the thief is the most effective countermeasure. It satisfies all the restrictive design constraints imposed on a vehicle manufacturer offering the system as standard equipment. The Vehicle Anti-Theft System - VATS utilizes an electrical code (a resistor pellet) embedded in the ignition key, in addition to the mechanical code. The electronic module that reads the electrical code and enables engine operation is in a remote location and not readily accessible to the thief. While no system will make a car theft proof, VATS will delay the thief an additional 15 to 20 minutes on the average.