It’s been said that a good car thief needs less than a minute to make off with a vehicle, a theme highlighted in the 1974 film, “Gone in 60 Seconds,” as well as the 2000 remake. But with two of the most stolen cars of the past three years, a thief might not even need that long.
The Dodge Charger Hemi and the even more powerful Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat topped the list of most frequently stolen models this year, according to a study by the Highway Loss Data Institute.
The Dodge brand has the dubious distinction of producing six of the 20 vehicles on the list, while a Chrysler sedan brings to seven the number of models coming from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
As for the least-stolen products, electric vehicles such as Tesla’s Model S and X rank near the very bottom of the list, with the BMW 3-Series ranking last — which is likely the result of improved onboard security systems.
The fact that Tesla’s Models S and X are so infrequently stolen might come as a surprise, considering they can cost more than $100,000 — but experts note they often are parked in close garages overnight while charging, or are connected to public charging stations, where there’s a lot of security.
This year’s list of most-stolen vehicles does not include some familiar names like the Honda Civic and Nissan Altima, both of which have wound up at or near the top of studies looking at car thefts over the years. That’s because the new study doesn’t focus on raw numbers but on the likelihood that an individual model will be stolen.
That’s why an extremely low-volume muscle car like the Challenger Hellcat winds up in the number two spot. It’s rare, and that makes them extremely attractive to thieves. Along with the Charger, said HLDI in a summary of the findings, they “have claim rates for whole-vehicle theft that are more than 5 times the average for 2016-18 models.”
Muscle and performance cars, in general, seem to be frequent targets, as do pickup trucks. There are six different truck models in the list of 20 most stolen vehicles, starting with the fifth-ranked GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab.
Along with those muscle cars and pickups, luxury vehicles like the third-ranked Infiniti QX50 make up the rest of the most stolen list. That’s no surprise, according to experts, because thieves like to maximize the return on their efforts by focusing on newer and higher-value products.
“The models most likely to be stolen tend to be powerful, pricey, or pickups, but vehicle theft is also a crime of opportunity,” HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore said. “Better security features on all vehicles would be the best way to address the problem.”
Paul A. Eisenstein