Sunday, 28 Oct, 2007 Offbeat

Illegally Most Wanted Vehicles


Motor vehicle theft or grand theft auto is a criminal act of theft generally understood to refer to the stealing of automobiles, buses, motorcycles, snowmobiles, trucks, trailers or any other motorized vehicle legally allowed on public roads and highways, including attempted thefts; but not to aircraft, boats, motorized wheelchairs, bulldozers, and spacecraft.
Wikipedia - the free online encyclopedia

If one considers that there are as many tastes and flavours, as there are people, one would be right. This is true regarding food, clothes, women, men, friends, places to live and, of course, cars. The world of today is already used to the fact that many people enter in possession of things illegally, and cars, in particular, are among things that illegally change possessors most often.

Car thieves, like any other human being on, have their own views regarding what is a good vehicle, and as the following research will show, it differs from one part of the world to another, from one country to another.

The tour starts with the 2004 TOP-10 of the most stolen cars in the USA, according to the data provided by NICB (the criteria for current top list compilation is given in the end of the article for each organization to provide data):

  1. 1995 Honda Civic
  2. 1989 Toyota Camry
  3. 1991 Honda Accord
  4. 1994 Dodge Caravan
  5. 1994 Chevrolet Full Size C/K 1500 Pickup
  6. 1997 Ford F150 Series
  7. 2003 Dodge Ram Pickup
  8. 1990 Acura Integra
  9. 1988 Toyota Pickup
  10. 1991 Nissan Sentra

For 2005 there are two statistics, provided by CCC and NICB. The CCC reports that ten most stolen vehicles in 2005 were as follows:

  1. 2001 BMW M Roadster
  2. 1998 Acura Integra
  3. 2004 Mercury Marauder
  4. 1999 Acura Integra
  5. 1995 Acura Integra
  6. 2002 Audi S4
  7. 1996 Acura Integra
  8. 1997 Acura Integra
  9. 2001 Acura Integra
  10. 2000 Jaguar XJR

According to NICB the most stolen vehicle in 2005 were:

  1. 1991 Honda Accord
  2. 1995 Honda Civic
  3. 1989 Toyota Camry
  4. 1994 Dodge Caravan
  5. 1994 Nissan Sentra
  6. 1997 Ford F150 Series
  7. 1990 Acura Integra
  8. 1986 Toyota Pickup
  9. 1993 Saturn SL
  10. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup

2006, according to NICB:

  1. 1995 Honda Civic
  2. 1991 Honda Accord
  3. 1989 Toyota Camry
  4. 1997 Ford F-150 Series Pickup
  5. 2005 Dodge Ram Pickup
  6. 1994 Chevrolet C/K 1500 Pickup
  7. 1994 Nissan Sentra
  8. 1994 Dodge Caravan
  9. 1994 Saturn SL
  10. 1990 Acura Integra

It is clear that popularity of Japanese vehicles didn't lose much as the NICB's list of most stolen cars in 2006 didn't really alter: the two leaders only switched places, while their follower remained the same. However one could notice that Dodge Ram Pickup enjoyed some more popularity among car thieves (which was certainly quite disturbing to their owners), while his brother Dodge Caravan has lost some points.

HLDI, on the other hand, compiled a list of cars, that were highly unlikely to be stolen in 2005:

  1. Ford Taurus
  2. Pontiac Vibe 4WD
  3. Buick LeSabre
  4. Buick Park Avenue
  5. Toyota Sienna 4WD

Tendencies of the last few years show that US car thieves have a weakness towards Hondas or any other Japanese vehicles whatsoever; and it is really unlikely that in 2007 statistics should alter dramatically, so all the posessors of Hondas of any models, be it Civic or Accord, should consider changing wheels for a, say Ford Taurus, maybe.

Let's see what preferences car thieves have over the Pacific, in Europe. The situation here differs completely from that in the USA, as the Japanese manufacturers can not boast of the fact that they produce vehicles attracting the most thieves. In this part of town the Deutsch rules the party. Wherever you go or wherever you are in Europe, avoid renting a German car, as there are many eyes already watching it.

According to Thatcham, the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, in 2006 in the UK the most attractive and illegally wanted was the Mrcedes ML. Here's the complete list:

  1. Mercedes ML
  2. Range Rover
  3. BMW 3-Series
  4. Porsche 911
  5. BMW 5-Series
  6. Jaguar XJ6
  7. Audi A3
  8. Land Rover Discovery
  9. Mercedes SLK
  10. BMW X5

In Germany the situation is not really different, except for the fact that German cars are not the most in the list, they ARE the TOP-10 list. Toyota Landcruiser 100 ended up 11 (what a pitty!) and this fact shows a tendency of Japanese cars to get into the TOP-10 list in the land of elegant vehicles itself. German Union of Insurance Companies, compiled the following list of most stolen cars in Germany in 2005:

  1. Porsche Cayenne S
  2. BMW X5 3.0d
  3. BMW X5 4.4i
  4. VW Golf IV R32
  5. VW Caravelle T4
  6. Mercedes E250 D
  7. Audi A8 3.7
  8. BMW M3
  9. VW Golf III VR 6
  10. VW Passat V6 2.5 TDI
  11. Toyota Landcruiser 100

This list shows that German car thieves have a very refined taste for cars, as the Cayenne is not the most cheap car, thus not the easiest to dispose of, and its exterior is the one that makes all the eyes around it turn towards it.

As a matter of fact, in some other European countries, such as Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, vehicles from German factories Audi and Volkswagen enjoy the most popularity among auto thieves too.

As for some post-soviet countries, their list of TOP-10 illegally most sought for cars is full of vehicles from an in-house manufacturer - VAZ. Cars from this factory enjoy the drive on roads of many countries, mostly post-soviet countries, but also many European and Asian countries. In the list of TOP-10 most stolen vehicles in Russia, models from the VAZ factory filled half of the list, yet a Volkswagen tops it:

  1. Volkswagen Passat B5
  2. VAZ-2112
  3. VAZ-2109
  4. VAZ-21099
  5. VAZ-2115
  6. Audi 100
  7. Volkswagen Golf
  8. Toyota RAV4
  9. Audi 80
  10. VAZ-2107

As for Russia's little sister Ukraine, VAZ has lost some positions in the thieves' eyes, but still... Even one Ukrainian car manufacturer has got into it - ZAZ. According to the State Police Department of the Ukraine, possessors of the following 10 models of cars, have been disappointed most often during 2006:

  1. Daewoo-Lanos
  2. VAZ-2109
  3. Chevrolet-Aveo
  4. Volkswagen Passat
  5. VAZ-2101
  6. ZAZ-1102 «Tavria»
  7. Lexus (RX330, RX400, GX470, LX470)
  8. Audi À6
  9. Mercedes-Benz
  10. Toyota RAV4

Romania is the only European country in this list (except Germany), which showed that even car thieves are true patriots: car models from local manufacturer "Dacia" (read as "Dachia") is known in few places outside Romania, but still Romanian thieves are not going to betray their country, and statistics of stolen vehicles during the last four years proves it (according to local police):

  1. Dacia (6,450)
  2. Volkswagen (1,502)
  3. Mercedes (1,214)
  4. BMW (855)
  5. Audi (840)
  6. Daewoo (405)
  7. Opel (315)
  8. FIAT (285)
  9. Ford (216)
  10. Renault (165)

If you're ever in Romania, don't even think about renting a Dacia. I'd chose a French car, if I were you.

The most off-road thieves were found in Spain, according to "Detector", international network for stolen vehicles' search. They prefer off-road 4x4 vehicles from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford. So when you're on tour in Spain, try avoiding parking lots, many off-road vehicles parked, since who knows, maybe thieves will change their mind when they see your car.

The only Asian country, which seems to not have a lot of problems with letting people know what cars they should avoid buying in the first place, is Japan. However, their police department seems to think that a TOP-3 should do. In Japan the sole leader is Toyota:

  1. Toyota Land Cruiser
  2. Toyota Harrier
  3. Toyota RAV4

This short research shows that from place to place the car thieves change their preferences as to what car from what manufacturer and of what model is most profitable to steal. They do it for several reasons: some vehicles are sold abroad, some vehicles are put apart and then sold for parts, some cars are just stolen for fun, but one thing is for certain: the owner will be very annoyed and disappointed (if not worse) to see a free parking lot on the spot he left his beauty 5 minutes ago.

This research was based on materials, freely available on the Internet, and namely those of the CCC Information Services, which used insurance claims for current statistics, NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau), which compiled its ranks based on police reports, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), comparing the number of vehicles stolen to the number produced, HLDI (Highway Loss Data Institute), Thatcham (The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre), the International Netwotk for Stolen Vehicles' Search - "Detector"; as well as police departments and insurance companies from Germany, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and Romania.

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