A new study in the UK revealed that the top 10 most stolen and recovered vehicles in 2018 all belong to premium brands, with the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series taking top honors.
According to Tracker, thefts involving vehicles equipped with keyless systems are on the rise, especially because of successful relay attacks. In fact, 88% of stolen vehicles fitted with one of Tracker’s devices, were stolen without using the owner’s key.
This marks an 8% increase over 2017, yet a very significant 22% increase compared to 2016, suggesting car owners should really become more aware of how to keep their keys out of range of their cars when at home, so as to avoid relay attacks.
Thieves want Bimmers, Mercs and Rovers
Last year, brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover were exclusively featured among the 10 most stolen and recovered cars in the UK, proving that prestige is more important than popularity – the VW Golf didn’t even make the top 10 despite being the UK’s best-selling car in 2018.
Compared to 2017, Mercedes-Benz claimed a record four of the top 10 spots, the BMW 3-Series moved from fifth to third, the Range Rover Sport dropped from third to eighth, while the Range Rover Vogue is back on the “most wanted” list after a 2017 hiatus.
From Toyotas to Rolls
While prestige brands remain on top, the average value of stolen and recovered cars in 2018 was £20,000 ($25,841). The least expensive recovery was a Toyota Land Cruiser worth just £1,000 ($1,292), whereas the most expensive one was a £120,000 ($155,000) Rolls-Royce Ghost.
“Organised criminal gangs make a living out of stealing to order or taking what they know will sell quickly, and it’s a thriving, albeit illegal, profession. What’s more, these people have highly sophisticated skills, continually adapting their techniques to counter technology introduced by manufacturers to safeguard vehicles,” said Clive Wain, head of Police Liaison at Tracker.
“Although premium models dominate the top 10, the opportunist thief will take any vehicle they can gain access to, so it’s vital that owners think about their vehicle security measures to make it harder for criminals.”