The mind of a car thief seems more contorted than it appeared on the surface. It's immoral to steal cars—that much is crystal clear. Not only is it stealing valuable property from others, but it can also put lives at risk—either in the act of the carjacking itself or escaping at breakneck speeds. Anyone who's willing to commit a grand theft auto is a little off in the head.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau has collected information over the years about carjackings. Their data reveals a list of what car models were most commonly stolen by car thieves. From an average driver's perspective, it's easy to come up with some cool cars they believe worthy of the list.
Non-thieves are in for a real surprise, however. Luxury and high-performance cars like Porsches, Jaguars or even BMWs don't even make the cut. Instead, the cars thieves go for are much more common, leaving many to think there's something seriously wrong with the world's thieves' taste in cars. Look, no one is condoning crimes here—it's just weird the list wouldn't contain better cars.
There's a number of reasons why lackluster, run-of-the-mill cars are the go-to vehicles for carjackers. They might be the most ubiquitous vehicles on the road today, and thereby, most accessible. Maybe thieves see something else in these cars that average drivers don’t? Each of the vehicles here possess some benefit, whether it's longevity, fuel economy or something else.
Here, we take a look at the cars thieves steal the most, while also examining the vehicles themselves in trying to understand the motive behind their robberies.
The 1994 Acura Integra made the cut. Coming in ninth place for 2014, Esurance reports that it was one of the top stolen cars for that year. To the rest of the world, as Top Speed reports, the Integra is a Honda car—not an Acura car as it is in the States. That's not what makes this a highly sought after vehicle though, at least on the surface. It's a standard sedan that gets the job done on a daily basis. There's a lot to like about the Integra in fact, which makes this an obvious go-to for car thieves.
Like the Camry, Toyota's Corolla models have a reputation for reliability. They're also common, which makes Corollas prey for car theft. According to Forbes, as per the NICB's report of most stolen vehicles in 2016, the Toyota Corolla ranks eighth.
The source goes on to say that it's the 2015 Corolla models that are most often targeted, with Over 10,000 units in all were stolen over the course of 2016.
Say what you will about these thieves, they certainly lucked out. They have practically brand new Corollas that could last them 250,000 miles or more if they take good care of them.
No other car is more of a throwback than this one when it comes to the top cars stolen for that year. A 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass—easily the oldest car on this list—not only managed to make it to 2003, but there were enough 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlasses stolen in that year, according to DMV, that it managed to take the tenth spot. These cars aren't the nicest looking and they're not known for their reliability, though it's safe to say that enough of them lasted long enough to look good enough to get stolen in 2003. While the Cutlass may not get the highest praise, it grabs the attention of petty thieves.
Here's a pickup that average truck drivers and enthusiasts will understand why thieves attempt to steal. These rugged trucks stand the test of time with high ratings in durability, even going as far back as the 2001 models, which made the seventh spot for 2016.
According to Forbes, in a report by the NCIB, thieves stole a total 12,128 of these Ram truck models that year.
No one can blame the owners for someone's decision to steal. Even if they do all they can to take care of the truck, keep an eye on it and park it in secluded areas, car thieves still find a way.
This next common car theft requires a step back into the past. According to Esurance, the 2002 Ford Explorer managed to make the top ten list of most stolen vehicles for 2011. It's surprising the car isn't higher on the list considering it's one of only a handful made in the 2000s, with the rest of the models listed from the '90s. The 2002 Ford Explorer is a lot different from the latest models out today. They haven't gotten much of an improvement to their fuel economy though, with Kelley Blue Book reporting that the 2002 models got only 13 mpg in cities, 18 on highways.
Only a handful of pickups make it on this list and few can really make a case for why they shouldn’t belong here. The Chevrolet Silverado is an all-around truck that's worthy of both law-abiding—and breaking—citizens alike.
According to Forbes, the 2004 Silverado models made it to the fourth spot of 2016's most stolen vehicles, based on information gathered by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
In all, carjackers stole a total of 31,238 Silverados for that year, leaving many stranded without their trusty pickups. Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims who lost their vehicles. Though it makes one wonder why 2004 Silverados were so popular still by the time 2016 rolled around.
Just prior to the new millennium arrived the 1999 Ford Taurus. About ten years later, the NICB would list this model car at slot number ten of most stolen cars. Car thieves proved that this was a valuable car—at least in their eyes—in the year 2010. Esurance notes that in this year, smaller sedans tended to be the trend for stolen vehicles. The '99 Taurus, however, was a mid-size that history hasn't totally lambasted in retrospect. If there's one thing this 2010 list tells us—with cars like the Accord, Camry and Chevy Pickups sitting at the top—it's that thieves don't totally have poor taste.
Most of the cars on this list won't get the sympathy of average car buyers, who think if you're going to steal something, it should be better than a Honda. Here's a pickup, however, that will earn the respect of regular car owners.
Forbes reports information provided by the NICB that the Ford F-Series came in third of the most carjacked vehicles for 2016.
The interesting part is that the report notes that the F-series stolen were 2006 models. The 2006 models came out before the drastic rise in pickup popularity that exists today, which suggests these burglars have some level of foresight.
Camrys have been around for ages. It's no wonder Toyota continues to redesign, upgrade and expand on this popular line. They're also known for their reliability, which stands out to the average car buyer. There's not much a car can do to defend against burglars though, except for limited security systems. The new Camrys are another story entirely. Yet despite improved security, the 2016 Camry model ended up finding its way on the list of top ten most stolen vehicles. Forbes reports that it came in at fifth place, making many wonder if the 2016 models still have some improvements to make.
GMC pickups are a solid way to go for car buyers who're in the market for one of the industry's burgeoning class of vehicles.
It makes sense, in that case, that the 2017 GMC Sierra was one of the top stolen vehicles in 2017, according to MSN.
That source reports that a total of 10,865 units were filched in all. If the thieves did end up getting away, they've managed to steal a popular truck that's going to last them for years to come. While the hope is that law enforcement catches up with the burglars and returns the trucks to the rightful owners, it's easy to see why the thieves went for these pickups.
Honda has long-lasting cars. The major car brand has a reputation for crafting steadfast machines that stand the test of time. That's probably not what car thieves are thinking about though when they steal one. The 1998 Honda Civic, Forbes reports, was the second highest stolen vehicle in 2016, sitting at 49,547 units total for that year. Landing in second place after its sibling, the Accord, the Civic finds infamy in being a top-coveted position. It's hard to know whether this is really an accolade or not, though it certainly brings attention—and free marketing—to one of the highest selling cars today.
The Nissan Maxima just barely made the cut for most stolen vehicles. The year was 2014, and car thieves managed to get away with the usual Accords, Civics and F-Series pickups, as is evident in both previous and subsequent years.
What's interesting is that the 1996 Nissan Maxima had been on the list of most stolen vehicles for 2014, as Esurance details, while also appearing on 2012, but remains absent from others.
It only managed to make the tenth spot on both those years. These cars are dependable and well-made, though like any other car, are susceptible to discriminate stealing.
The Nissan Altima made the National Insurance Crime Bureau's list of top cars stolen in 2016. According to Forbes, the 2015 model of these popular sedans made it to the sixth spot, which isn't necessarily something to be proud of. While the 12,221 Nissan owners weren't too happy, it provides a double-edged promotion to one of the biggest car brands. On the one hand, it looks good because the sedan is popular and also shows there's a lot of them on the road—even enough for burglars to have access to. On the negative end of the spectrum, it suggests Altima's could use better security systems.
Saturns are no longer produced, though many still roam the streets today. Back in 2006, the 1994 Saturn SL made the top ten list of cars stolen for that year, according to the DMV.
There's a reason Saturns aren't made anymore, and that GM decided to abandon that lineup altogether.
They used a lot of plastic materials and aren't the highest quality cars on the road. That leads one to wonder why the '94 Saturn SL made it so high on the list of stolen cars for that year. Granted, it's not in the top five, but the top ten is high enough to raise eyebrows.
Even well into the 21st century, there are plenty of cars from the early '90s driving around. Those were some of the most susceptible to carjacking in 2011. According to Esurance, the 1994 Nissan Sentra managed to barely make it at number ten for the most stolen vehicles of that year. No one knows how much of an inconvenience it was for these Sentra owners to find their vehicles stolen one day. One can only hope these owners got significant upgrades in 2011 from their nearly 17-year-old Sentras they had been driving around up to that point in time.
Some car enthusiasts—not all—loathe Jeeps. There's always going to be certain cars the aficionados can't accept. If it's hard for them to muster up sympathy for a stolen Jeep, all they need to do is remember that it belonged to someone else. It doesn't really matter what kind of car it is at the end of the day. Rounding out the list at number ten, Forbes notes that the 2000 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models were favorites among car thieves in 2016. There's always a possibility many of them fled to a rugged territory where a Jeep could come in handy.
Car thieves think highly of the 1997 Honda Accord. Forbes reports that according to the NICB, it's the most stolen car of 2016, surprising anyone that knows something about cars everywhere.
It's an unusual car to make the top honors considering it's an average sedan. Something tells us it's an honor Honda isn't too proud to brag about.
The Street lends some insight into why the '96 Accord is more popular to newer models, suggesting it's due to the lack of security features. It's possible Honda took note of these worrying stats and improved on their later models' security systems, while also staving off flattery.
The Dodge Caravan isn't flashy, and it doesn't have noteworthy performance, but it served a great number of thieves who got away. According to Forbes, in data collected by the NICB on cars stolen in 2015, the 2002 Dodge Caravan models found a way to reach ninth place in terms of most stolen. One would think that a minivan could be clunky for a thief to escape in unless they took it quietly without anyone noticing. For this particular year, there weren't too many other SUVS or minivans—the Caravan stands out in that regard. For some unknown reason, the Caravan was just a popular steal that year.
Unlike the Saturn SL, this Chevrolet pickup found its way higher up the list of most stolen cars. In 2006, according to the DMV's website, 1994 Chevrolet C/K 1500 pickups managed to carve out the sixth spot for most stolen cars for that year.
The 2005 Dodge Ram managed to get a whole spot ahead of this pickup, with 1997 Ford F-150s even edging Ram out above that.
This was definitely a year for pickup truck robberies, though sedans continued to dominate the list as a whole. Like Chevy trucks today, the '94 CIK 1500 models were tough and powerful.
Nearing the bottom of the top 10 list of most stolen cars for 2016 is the Chevrolet Impala. Forbes reports that it was the 2008 Impala models that thieves managed to snatch up and get away with.
The NICB lists a total of 9,749 units taken over the course of that year by car thieves who either didn't want to pay for one or couldn't afford it.
Then again, there's always the possibility they never set out to steal this particular car, and only took what was closest and available in the midst of their flight. That could explain the reason for these Impalas being lifted.
Sources: The Street, Forbes, Kelley Blue Book, Esurance, DMV, MSN