The Most Likely (& Unlikely) Cars to be Stolen

A recent car theft study showed a list mainly of luxury vehicles, pickup trucks, and cars/ trucks with performance engines. Half of the 20 vehicles leading the likely-to-be-stolen list are also equipped with all-wheel drive. I’m not really sure what that is about, but for some reason, they are attractive to thieves.

The top of the list includes the Dodge Charger Hemi and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. The third vehicle on the list is the Infiniti Q50. These three vehicles are more than five times likely to be stolen than the average theft rate. The vehicles on the list tend to be pricey, have powerful engines or are pickups. There is also an element of opportunity involved in vehicle theft. For more about this, see my comments further down about the Teslas.

Car theft is more frequent even though newer cars are more theft-resistant than older vehicles. Many of the more modern cars come with push-button starting and fobs. Drivers will leave their fobs in the console or cup holder(I’m guilty) which makes them very easy to steal. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) compiles their stats comparing the vehicle sales to the actual number of vehicles stolen rather than just totals of each model. For this reason, you may see cars with lower sales numbers showing up on the most stolen list.

An unusual dropout from the most-stolen list is Cadillac’s Escalade, which used to top the most stolen vehicle list. Perhaps Cadillac’s antitheft features have had an impact or maybe the vehicle has more competition in that market segment.

Tesla’s Model S and Model X also have very low theft rates. HLDI speculates that the low theft rate is because they are typically parked either in garages or close enough to a house to reach an AC outlet or charger. Last years report also showed electric vehicles as having low theft rates. The BMW 3 Series headed the list of least likely to be stolen vehicles. Apparently car thieves aren’t into Beemers or as I heard BMW stood for “Bob Marley and the Wailers.”

Most frequently stolen 2016-2018 vehicles:

Dodge Charger HEMI

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Infiniti QX50

Infiniti QX80

GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab

Dodge Challenger

Nissan Maxima

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab

Chrysler 300 four-wheel-drive

Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan AWD

Dodge Charger AWD

Dodge Durango AWD

Land Rover Range Rover

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab 4WD

Dodge Charger

Nissan Titan crew-cab short bed

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab 4WD

Audi A7 AWD

Infiniti QX80 AWD

Sidenote – I’m surprised that Corvette didn’t make the most frequent list. I’m not sure why that is the case.

Least frequently stolen 2016-2018 vehicles:

BMW 3-series four-door

Tesla Model S AWD

Tesla Model X AWD

Chevrolet Equinox AWD

Buick Encore AWD

Subaru Legacy with EyeSight

GMC Acadia

Subaru Forester with EyeSight

GMC Acadia AWD

Volkswagen New Beetle

BMW 3 Series AWD

Subaru Outback with EyeSight


Subaru Crosstrek

Chevrolet Traverse

Subaru Crosstrek with EyeSight

Lexus RX 450h AWD

Honda Odyssey

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Cadillac XT5

Antitheft systems are not magic. You have to use them as the “fob” example above shows. More and better antitheft features are only as good as the people who use them. However, vehicles with manual transmissions will prevent almost all Millenials from stealing them.

Another part of the issue is simply location. Chicago, for example, has a reputation for criminals carjacking vehicles so that they can be used in the commission of another crime. Another problem is that thieves will ride around with a tow truck and snatch your vehicle out of your driveway or from a parking lot or street while you are working or shopping. Many stolen vehicles end up in other parts of the world where laws are not as rigorously enforced.

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