The Most Stolen Cars in America

Stolen Car Trends

Drivers and car buyers beware: Some of the hottest and most popular vehicles are also the most commonly stolen. Certain cars and SUV models are about five times more likely to be stolen than the average for all vehicles, according to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and owners of those models will have to pay more to insure those vehicles, according to Russ Rader, an IIHS spokesman. In general, trucks and SUVs have become especially hot commodities in the used-car market in the past six months, says auto analyst Art Spinella at CNW Marketing Research. “It appears, also, that because of the demand and because more Americans are keeping their SUVs rather than trading for a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle, repair and replacement parts are in greater demand,” he adds. Owners may want to be especially protective if they drive any of the cars on this list, and buyers may want to steer clear of them if they’re concerned about theft. And Americans who own these cars and live in or near major cities or along the U.S. border with Mexico, for instance, will likely have to pay more for car insurance as well, Rader says. The IIHS bases its reports, which use data based on the number of thefts per 1,000 cars insured, on insurance claims due to the thefts of cars that are one to three years old. We also take a look at the Kelley Blue Book value for each of the cars on this list, which estimates the price based on actual sales data, listing 2009 model year values for comparison’s sake. Photo Credit: Nissan


A Popularity Contest?

Big American trucks and SUVs dominate the IIHS list, and notably six out of 10 were brands from General Motors (Stock Quote: GM). "Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren't on the hot list," said Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president of the IIHS Highway Loss Data Institute in a press release. "Thieves are after chrome, horsepower and HEMIs." “We've also seen—especially among younger consumers—a growing interest in Detroit Three's big SUVs and pickups. The theft rate often reflects under-25 vehicle affinity,” Spinella says. “This has changed from Japanese imports such as Honda Civics, Toyota Camrys and others.” And if popularity is an indicator of possible theft, having one of these vehicles in silver, black and white might make your car a bigger target for theft, according to the DuPont Color Popularity Report. Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass


10th Most Commonly Stolen: GMC Yukon

Along with its growing popularity, the GMC Yukon has gone through a significant increase in size. The newest generation is a massive sport-utility vehicle with seating for up to nine, compared with its previous generation as a two-door 4x4 seating up to six, according to Edmunds.com. Approximate Blue Book Value: $39,635 for a 2009 GMC Yukon SLE. Photo Credit: mr.alsultan


9th Most Commonly Stolen: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew

In 2007, the Chevy Silverado was named the North American Truck of the Year by a group that’s actually called The North American Car and Truck of the Year, which consists of about 50 automotive journalists as judges. During the recession, small businesses that require towing capacity and the ability to haul materials have been delaying purchases of new pickup trucks, auto analysts say, but truck thefts have increased in recent years, the IIHS notes, and the demand for them is still alive. Approximate Blue Book Value: $26,100 for a 2009 four-door Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab Work Truck. Photo Credit: GM


8th Most Commonly Stolen: Chevrolet Avalanche 1500

The Chevy Avalanche could be considered a less luxurious version on the Escalade. The two SUVs share the same platform and similar structure. According to automotive research site Edmunds.com, the Avalanche “successfully blends the comfort and passenger capacity of an SUV with the cargo flexibility of a pickup truck.” But it’s considered an unusual truck with its fold-down midgate, a wall that separates the cabin where driver and passenger sit from the bed where cargo is stored, Edmunds says. Approximate Blue Book Value: $34,800 for a four-door 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche LS Sport Utility Pickup. Photo Credit: GM


7th Most Commonly Stolen: Nissan Pathfinder

Car thieves and purchasers of stolen cars don’t appear concerned at all about fuel efficiency. An eight-cylinder 2008 Pathfinder gets a combined gas mileage of just 12 miles per gallon. Drivers especially like the Pathfinder for its toughness off road and its towing ability, according to The Car Connection, a car review site. Approximate Blue Book Value: $27,435 for a four-door 2009 Nissan Pathfinder S Sport Utility. Photo Credit: Nissan


6th Most Commonly Stolen: Hummer H2 4WD

GM’s Hummer H1 was a monster of a vehicle designed for use by the military, but the company’s H2 is a bit more practical. Still, its styling can “make it stand out like a sweaty heavyweight prizefighter attending a Friday-night knitting class,” according to Edmunds, which ultimately calls H2 “a stellar pick for an SUV.” Approximate Blue Book Value: $58,900 for a 2009 Hummer H2 4WD. Photo Credit: GM


5th Most Commonly Stolen: Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is new to the IIHS list of most commonly stolen cars. While the mid-sized sports car isn't stolen as often as some of the other cars on the list, claims can be especially expensive for insurers to pay due to the car’s high price. On average, an insurance claim payment is about $41,229, the IIHS notes. Approximate Blue Book Value: $57,900 for a two-door 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe. Photo Credit: GM


4th Most Commonly Stolen: Dodge Charger HEMI

Despite its rugged and powerful look, the Dodge Charger is considered a large family car according to the IIHS. And a HEMI engine packs 368 horsepower, compared with 340 hp from the Charger’s previous engine, thanks to new technologies and better engine cooling, according to Motor Authority. Approximate Blue Book Value: $34,400 for a four-door 2009 Dodge Charger SRT8 Sedan. Photo Credit: Chrysler


3rd Most Commonly Stolen: Infiniti G37 2-door (2008-09)

The Infiniti G37 is a sleek, midsized luxury car with high-end interior appointments using expensive materials and steering wheel shift pedals “fit for a Ferrari,” according to Popular Mechanics. For car shoppers attracted to a brand new Infiniti G37, which is on the pricey side at $36,050, a $24,600 Volvo C30 is a cheaper alternative with similar styling, The Auto Channel notes. And it’s less likely to be stolen. Approximate Blue Book Value: $35,435 for a 2009 Infiniti G37 two-door coupe. Photo Credit: Nissan


2nd Most Commonly Stolen: Ford F-250 crew 4WD (2008-09)

The Ford (Stock Quote: F) F-Series trucks have long been the best-selling vehicles across the board in America. And pickups could start becoming even more popular theft targets, suggests the IIHS. “Investigators tell us big work trucks like the Ford F-250/350, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Dodge Ram 2500 are attractive not only because of the vehicles themselves but also because of the tools and cargo they carry," the IIHS notes. Ford’s F-Series Super Duty trucks may include features like rearview cameras and telescoping mirrors, according to CarQuotes.com. Approximate Blue Book Value: $36,100 for a four-door 2009 Ford F250 Super Duty Crew Cab XL Pickup. Photo Credit: Ford


Most Commonly Stolen: Cadillac Escalade

Luxurious 2007-2009 Cadillac Escalades are the most commonly stolen cars in America. Plus, theft claims are expensive for insurers. Companies pay out $40,000 or more for every one out of four claims due to theft. And while Escalades come with a standard antitheft feature that keeps the vehicles from being started without the right key, “thieves still can put them on flatbeds and haul them away," the IIHS says. Escalades are stolen seven times more than the average passenger vehicle, the agency says. Approximate Blue Book Value: $49,135 for a four-door 2009 Cadillac Escalade Sport Utility. Photo Credit: GM


Preventing Theft

If you drive one of these cars or you’re intent on buying one, you’ll want to be aware of your options for antitheft devices. There are a number of ways to prevent your car from being stolen and they can cost you as much as $1,000 or as little as nothing at all. A steering wheel lock, like The Club, can immobilize your steering wheel and costs between $25 and $100, notes Cars.com. And some cars come with a kill switch or you may be able to install one to shut down your vehicle’s electrical system remotely. And for cars that are valuable enough for thieves to tow them away on flatbed trucks, a visible tire lock may make it impossible to drive. Photo Credit: Hey Paul


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