Wednesday, November 09, 2005

America's Most Stolen Cars

This is the list...edited creatively for humor from MSN.com.

The popular 1995 Honda Civic was the top pick among thieves during the 2004 calendar year, according to the "Hot Wheels" report released in November 2005 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

In 2004, 1,237,114 motor vehicles were reported stolen which is a decrease of 23,357 vehicles from 2003. Overall in the U.S., car theft was down by almost two percent.

"The slight decrease in auto theft is a positive sign. It clearly shows that the American Public has poor taste in automobiles this year versus last year." said Robert M. Bryant, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NICB. "Seriously, a 1995 Honda Civic? I thought they'd give you one if you just went near a Honda dealership these days."

The most recent NICB report listed the 1989 Toyota Camry as the second most stolen vehicle, followed by the 1991 Honda Accord.

In fourth position, the 1994 Dodge Caravan was the highest-listed minivan as well as the most stolen domestic automobile. The Caravan was followed by three pickup trucks: the 2003 Dodge Ram1994 , the 1997 Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet C/K 1500, respectively.

The NICB encourages everyone to follow what it calls a "layered approach" to auto theft protection by employing simple, low-cost suggestions to make vehicles less attractive to thieves. The four layers include Common Sense, Warning Device, Tracking Device, and owning a car that no one wants.

The least expensive form of defense, common sense simply means locking your damn doors. "Studies show that 90 percent of cars stolen were unlocked with the keys in the ignition. In almost half of those the driver had left the car running, entered a gas station on their cell phone and were rendered completely oblivious to the world around them once their phone rang," says Bryant. "If people had common sense they'd still have their cars. If thieves had common sense they'd be stealing something more than Honda Civics." The second layer is a warning device. This can be anything from a blaster horn to a baseball bat. Studies show that people who carry large baseball bats or heavy sticks are less likely to be car jacked than those who do not.

The third layer takes a Tracking Device. "If you have more money than you know what to do with you can purchase a GPS locator for your car," says Bryant. "Honestly if someone is going to steal it they likely will just leave the GPS locator sitting in the parking lot where your car used to sit." The final layer suggests a non-desirable car, such as a Toyota Camry, and Honda Civic, or anything in the Kia line of vehicles. "We feel this fourth layer is bullet proof," says Bryant. "Who in the hell would steal a Kia? Our point exactly."

"We cannot determine with absolute certainty the reason why thieves steal some vehicles over others, " said Carole Comstock, CCC's vice president of marketing and product management. "We see these same lists every year and we're completely baffled by which vehicles are stolen because the top two or three are typically something that no one wants."

"The data also points to a high proportion of stolen cars that are built for speed such as the BMW M Roadster, Audi S4 and Mercury Marauder, which all appear on the top 25 most stolen vehicles list in 2004," said Comstock. "These are the respectable cars to steal which our researchers could understand. The Honda Civics still have us all stumped. Didn't these lame ass car thieves watch Gone in 60 Seconds? Did you see a Honda Civic on the list? Are you going to get away from anyone in anything Honda makes? It would make more sense to us if people stole something with some speed."

The NICB top ten list—the number in parentheses is the model year most stolen:

  1. Honda Civic (1995)
  2. Toyota Camry (1989)
  3. Honda Accord (1991)
  4. Dodge Caravan (1994)
  5. Chevrolet C/K 1500 (1994)
  6. Ford F-150 (1997)
  7. Dodge Ram Pickup (2003)
  8. Acura Integra (1990)
  9. Toyota Pickup (1988)
  10. Nissan Sentra (1991)

Most Stolen, Based on Insurance Theft Loss
The insanely overpriced Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup truck topped the list of the most recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which looks at the insurance theft losses reported for one- to three-year-old vehicles.

The Escalade EXT and Nissan Maxima, which is second on the HLDI list, have theft claim rates seven to eight times higher than the average for all cars. "This is the second year in a row that an Escalade is among the vehicles most likely to have a theft claim," said Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. "It appears people don't want to buy their own spinners and that they'd rather steal someone elses."

One of the likely reasons for the Escalade's popularity among thieves is the propensity for owners to outfit the big Cadillacs with expensive wheel packages, some costing as much as $10,000. Where wheels are popular on the Escalade, the Nissan Maxima's theft rate climbed dramatically in 2002 when the company made expensive high-intensity discharge headlights part of the car's standard equipment.

"Investigators tell us the high-intensity discharge headlights are often stolen because they fit into earlier Maximas that were sold without lights," Hazelbaker said. "For some reason headlights were an option on the Maxima's of that year that most consumers didn't know they had to purchase seperately. We blame this HID headlight crap on the Fast the Furious. Studies show people believe that stickers and headlights will make their car go faster when actually they're totally worthless in terms of performance. Seriously. What is an 89 Camry and a Nissan Sentra doing on the list anyway?"

Both studies show that car thieves stay away from the muscle car and 4X4 vechicle crowd and for good reason. "What you've got here is a group of theves that are good at picking locks and disabling electronic devices and not so good at fighting," says Bryant. "Our data shows that car thieves are 100 percent more likely to get beaten down buy a Muscle Car or a Jeep owner than a soccer mom in a mini-van or a college girl in a Honda Civic on her cell phone."

Thieves still prefer cars over SUVs or pickups—although large SUVs are becoming more common on the lists. In two separate studies, one from CCC and the other from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), at least seven of the 10 most commonly stolen vehicles in the United States are cars, with the Acura Integra, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic and Honda Accord prominent on the lists. However both studies show an increase in SUV theft.

The SUVs with the highest theft rates, according to the CCC 2004 stolen vehicle report, are the 2004 Cadillac Escalade and the 1998 Land Rover Range Rover.

According to Bryant, "Vehicle thieves follow market trends and target the most popular vehicles because they provide the best market for stolen vehicle parts and illegal export to other countries. You wouldn't think of car thieves as trendy people, but our studies show they certainly can be."

The CCC reports the ten most stolen vehicles for 2004 are as follows:

  1. 1999 Acura Integra
  2. 2002 BMW M Roadster
  3. 1998 Acura Integra
  4. 1991 GMC V2500
  5. 2002 Audi S4
  6. 1996 Acura Integra
  7. 1995 Acura Integra
  8. 2004 Mercury Marauder
  9. 1997 Acura Integra
  10. 1992 Mercedes-Benz 600

The study is based on total loss claims received from more than 350 property and casualty insurers in North America and compares the number of vehicles stolen and not recovered against vehicle registration volume information provided by R.L. Polk & Co., to determine the rate of theft. "Now this list is just crazy," claims Bryant. "Do these kids really believe the Acura will outrun a Corvette as the Acura dealers claim? It's just not possible."

While both studies have different lists, they are both about stolen cars. "I guess this just ups the resale value on Hondas," says Bryant. "It's probably all a ploy by the manufacturer to make their cars seem more desirable."

This list creatively edited on Miles Away from Ordinary for Entertainment Purposes Only and is in no way affiliated with MSN in any shape form or fashion.


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