Dodge cars with big engines top HLDI's list of most stolen vehicles

August 1, 2019

Two large cars known for their powerful engines — the Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat — top the Highway Loss Data Institute’s list of vehicles most likely to be stolen.

Both vehicles have claim rates for whole-vehicle theft that are more than 5 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.

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. 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.

The Dodge Charger HEMI has the highest rate of whole-vehicle theft claims among 2016-18 models.
BMW 3-series 4-door
The BMW 3-series sedan has the lowest rate of whole-vehicle theft claims among 2016-18 models.

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.

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. 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,” says HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore. “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.

Vehicles with the highest claim frequencies for whole-vehicle theft

2016-18 model years

Vehicle size/type Relative claim frequency (100 = average)
Dodge Charger HEMI Large 4-door car 544
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Large 2-door car 529
Infiniti Q50 4-door Midsize luxury car 525
Infiniti QX80 Large luxury SUV 422
GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab Large 4-door pickup 393
Dodge Challenger Large 2-door car 358
Nissan Maxima Midsize 4-door car 351
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab Large 4-door pickup 320
Chrysler 300 4WD Large 4-door car 293
Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4-door long-wheelbase 4WD Very large luxury car 291
Dodge Charger 4WD Large 4-door car 274
Dodge Durango 4WD Large SUV 271
Land Rover Range Rover Large luxury SUV 271
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab 4WD Large 4-door pickup 269
Dodge Charger Large 4-door car 266
Nissan Titan crew cab short bed Large 4-door pickup 250
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Large 4-door pickup 248
GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab 4WD Large 4-door pickup 241
Audi A7 4WD Large luxury car 239
Infiniti QX80 4WD Large luxury SUV 236

Vehicles with the lowest claim frequencies for whole-vehicle theft

2016-18 model years

Vehicle size/type Relative claim frequency (100 = average)
BMW 3-series 4-door Midsize luxury car 4
Tesla Model S 4WD Large luxury car 11
Tesla Model X 4WD Large luxury SUV 12
Chevrolet Equinox 4WD Small SUV 15
Buick Encore 4WD Small luxury SUV 15
Subaru Legacy with EyeSight Midsize 4-door car 17
GMC Acadia Midsize SUV 19
Subaru Forester with EyeSight Small SUV 20
GMC Acadia 4WD Midsize SUV 20
Volkswagen New Beetle Small 2-door car 21
BMW 3 series 4-door 4WD Midsize luxury car 21
Subaru Outback with EyeSight Midsize station wagon 22
BMW X5 Midsize luxury SUV 22
Subaru Crosstrek Small station wagon 25
Chevrolet Traverse Midsize SUV 26
Subaru Crosstrek with EyeSight Small station wagon 26
Lexus RX 450h 4WD Midsize luxury SUV 28
Honda Odyssey Minivan 28
Mazda MX-5 Miata Mini sports car 30
Cadillac XT5 Midsize luxury SUV 30

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