Dodge Cars with Big Engines Top List of Most Stolen Vehicles

Two large Dodge cars known for their powerful engines top the Highway Loss Data Institute’s (HLDI) list of vehicles most likely to be stolen.

The Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat both have claim rates for whole-vehicle theft that are more than five times the average for 2016-’18 models, as does the Infiniti Q50, a midsize luxury sedan. Nearly all 20 models with the highest theft rates are either vehicles with big engines, luxury vehicles or pickups, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Somewhat puzzlingly, the car that tops the list of least stolen vehicles is also a midsize luxury sedan, the two-wheel-drive BMW 3 series, according to IIHS. It had just one claim for whole-vehicle theft in 104,901 insured vehicle years. An insured vehicle year is one vehicle insured for one year.

Two of the vehicles on the least-stolen list are the Tesla Model S and Model X. Their low theft rate may be related to the fact that, as electric vehicles, they are usually parked in garages or close to a house to be near a power supply. In a separate report last year, HLDI showed that electric vehicles from a variety of manufacturers have lower theft claim rates than comparable vehicles.

Absent from the most-stolen list is any version of the Cadillac Escalade, which previously dominated HLDI’s rankings of vehicles popular with thieves. Part of the reason is that the large luxury SUV now has more competition in that category, including from the Infiniti QX80 and the Land Rover Range Rover, vehicles that are now among the most stolen.

Dodge Cars with Big Engines Top List of Most Stolen Vehicles | THE SHOP

Escalade owners are also likely benefiting from enhanced security features that go beyond the ignition immobilizers that most of today’s vehicles have in order to prevent them from being started without a proper key. Standard immobilizers weren’t enough to prevent the Escalade from being frequently stolen, so Cadillac added more antitheft features beginning with the 2015 model year, according to IIHS. They include glass breakage sensors, motion detectors and an inclination sensor that triggers an alarm if someone tries to take the wheels off, tow the vehicle or lift it onto a flatbed truck.

“The models most likely to be stolen tend to be powerful, pricey or pickups, but vehicle theft is also a crime of opportunity,” said Matt Moore, HLDI senior vice president. “Better security features on all vehicles would be the best way to address the problem.”

By looking at claims per insured vehicle year, HLDI’s theft reports allow people to compare the relative risk of each vehicle. In contrast, other most-stolen-vehicle lists report raw numbers of thefts and are therefore dominated by the most common vehicles on the road.

HLDI’s whole-vehicle theft report differs from its standard theft report, which looks at all theft claims, including those for stolen vehicle parts or for items taken from a vehicle.

To isolate whole-vehicle claims, HLDI looked at the amounts paid for total losses under collision coverage, which is generally the residual value of the vehicle. If the payment associated with a theft claim is around the same as would be expected for a total loss under collision coverage for the same vehicle of the same age, it is considered to be a whole-vehicle theft claim.

As with all HLDI analyses, the results in the whole-vehicle theft report are adjusted to account for the effect of demographic and geographic factors.

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