Anyone who has ever had their car stolen knows that it is a nightmare. Few, if any, stolen cars are ever recovered and the ensuing hassle with insurance companies can be awful. Yet car theft is a real problem in the United States and Canada, and highly organized car theft rings exist on both sides of the border. But people would be surprised to see which cars are the most stolen ones each year. Car theft in real life is not like in the movies. Contrary to movies such as Gone In 60 Seconds and The Fast and Furious, few car thieves get their hands on a Porsche or Ferrari. In most cases, car thieves steal a minivan or a family station wagon. Here is a list of the cars that are most often stolen in the U.S. and Canada, based on information from insurance bureaus in both countries.
10. Nissan Altima
The Nissan Altima is a popular mid-sized family sedan known for its fuel economy and durability. The resale value of this five seat car is very high, which largely explains why nearly 9,000 of them were reported stolen in the U.S. last year. Thieves like to steal these cars and then resell them to used car dealerships. The lower the mileage on them, the more attractive they are to car thieves. Many Nissan Altima cars also come with luxury interiors that include leather seats and built-in entertainment systems, which also makes them attractive for theft. Owning one of these vehicles may result in higher insurance premiums given the frequency with which they’re stolen.
9. Toyota Corolla
In terms of subcompact and compact cars, one of the more popular ones to be stolen each year is the Toyota Corolla. First introduced in 1966, the Corolla is consistently one of the bestselling cars in the U.S. and throughout the world with more than 40 million models sold to-date. In 1997, the Corolla became the bestselling vehicle nameplate in the world, surpassing the Volkswagen Beetle. Given its ubiquitous nature, it should not come as a surprise to learn that about 10,000 Toyota Corollas are reported stolen each year in North America. The Toyota Corolla is also popular among young drivers who like to modify the compact cars and add special features to them that include rims, spoilers, sound systems and under mount lights. These modifications often catch the eye of thieves who are looking for a supped up car they can steal and sell quickly on the black market.
8. Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee
You don’t typically think of a Jeep as being a popular vehicle to steal. However, we’re talking here about the latest versions of the Cherokee, which is a mid-sized sport utility vehicle crossover. And both the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee have won awards for their design, price point and fuel economy—all of which make them easy for crooks to sell illegally. The 2014 Cherokee was named the top-ranked Affordable Compact SUV in U.S. News & World Report magazine, and it has a highway fuel economy rating of 31 miles per U.S. gallon and a 45% better fuel economy rating than the Liberty/Cherokee it has replaced. The vehicle also boasts all-wheel drive, and at a starting price of under $25,000 it is one of the more attractive SUV crossovers on the market today. More than 10,000 of the newest models were stolen last year, and older model Cherokees are among the most stolen used cars in the U.S. as well.
7. Dodge Grand Caravan
It may not be cool to drive a Dodge Grand Caravan minivan, as it can definitely be taken as a sign that you’ve become a parent. Nevertheless, the Dodge Grand Caravan is a hot item among car thieves in the U.S. and Canada. The family vehicle is among the most stolen in both countries. Just under 11,000 of these minivans were reported stolen in the U.S. last year. Why the attraction? Apparently it is the size of the vehicles and the fact that they seat seven or eight people that makes them most attractive on the black market. That and their storage capacity. Plus people who are looking to buy minivans second hand are willing to overlook the age and inherent problems associated with it simply to be able to fit a lot of people inside. Also, the parts in the Dodge Grand Caravan are pretty basic and easy to find and replace. They are not foreign and exotic parts that people find in, say, a Mercedes.
6. Dodge Ram
While the Dodge Grand Caravan is the most popular minivan among thieves, the Dodge Ram truck has the distinction of being one of the most frequently stolen pick-ups in North America. Not only is this a full size truck, meaning it has lots of room and storage capacity, but it is also one of the best made pick-up trucks in the world and has won Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of the Year Award on five separate occasions, most recently in 2014. This is clearly a popular and sturdy pick-up truck, which has made it very attractive to car thieves. Nearly 11,500 of the trucks were reported stolen in the U.S. Many older model Ram trucks are still on the roads and also prone to be stolen.
5. Toyota Camry
Referred to by executives at Toyota as their “world car,” the Camry is one of the very bestselling cars on the planet. And it is also one of the longest lasting cars—many of the mid-sized Camrys are still on the road after 10 years. And it is this longevity and popularity that led to 14,420 Toyota Camrys being stolen in the U.S. over the past year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Illinois. Newer model Camrys also come with many upgrades as standard features, including leather, GPS and satellite radio. These features, not surprisingly, further entice thieves. The fact that there are so many Toyota Camrys on the roads today also makes them easy to steal and shop on the black market and through unscrupulous second hand car dealerships. Singling out one Camry in the crowd is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.
4. Ford F-150
Another popular truck that is frequently stolen is Ford’s F-150, a full sized pick-up that has been sold continuously in North America since 1948. In fact, the F-150 truck has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the past 32 years, and the best-selling pick-up truck for 43 years. The F-150 is also the bestselling vehicle in Canada. Now in its 13th generation, the Ford F-150 has won numerous awards for its towing capability and safety features. It has been regularly named the best “workhorse” truck on the market, and this is a big reason for its popularity among American and Canadian consumers. And given its continuous popularity, it is no wonder that 26,500 of these trucks were reported stolen to police in the United States last year. Clearly, crooks know a good thing when they see it.
3. Chevrolet Silverado
Only slightly more popular with the criminal set is the Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck. A total of 27,809 of these trucks were reported stolen in the U.S. last year. What makes this full-sized vehicle so popular to steal? The heavy duty version of this truck is used a lot with construction crews and work teams, and the truck’s powerful 300 horsepower engine and 360 pound feet of torque also make the Silverado attractive and much desired. This truck can also easily tow more than 10,000 pounds without revving the engine. Add in great safety ratings and the Chevy Silverado is one of the hottest vehicles available today. While not as widely sold as the Ford F-150, the Silverado is attractive to people looking for pure power in their vehicle.
2. Honda Civic
This compact car has proven extremely popular with motorists in North America since it debuted in 1972. And, as with the Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic is quite often modified and used for racing by young drivers and teens. More than seven million Honda Civics have been sold in the U.S., and it was the top selling car in Canada for 14 consecutive years until 2012. The hybrid version of this car is also popular, and the Civic was named International Car of the Year as recently as 2005. Affordable and easily customizable, 45,000 Honda Civics were stolen in the States in the past 12 months. That is a lot considering that it is a compact car. But its enduring popularity with young drivers makes it a great steal, so to speak.
1. Honda Accord
And the car that has the distinction of being the most stolen vehicle in North America is the Honda Accord. Not sexy, far from flashy and hardly edgy, the Honda Accord is nevertheless very attractive to criminals that are in the business of moving stolen vehicles. The four door, mid-sized sedan was reported stolen 53,995 times in the U.S. last year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau—more than any other vehicle. Why? Because criminals clearly recognize value when they see it. The Honda Accord is rock solid. These cars last forever. While it has never been the top selling car in the U.S. or Canada, many Honda Accords are still driving after more than 20 years of continuous service. Some owners have more than 300,000 miles on their Honda Accord. Built to last, and with parts that are easy to acquire and swap out, the Honda Accord is the Energizer Bunny of cars. Its durability has kept them running and that makes them easy to steal and resell for thieves, much to the chagrin of the Honda manufacturing company.