American cars are hot again. Literally.
“Nationally — and for the first time since 2002 — thieves preferred domestic makes over foreign brands,” the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported on Tuesday. “Ford took three spots, Dodge two, and Chevrolet held one.”
Here’s the NICB’s top 10 list, which uses 2010 data that it took till now to crunch. (You can also search the most-stolen cars in your state.) You’ll notice that while American carmakers have a presence on the national list, it’s still top-heavy with foreign makes…
- Honda Accord (1994)
- Honda Civic (1995)
- Toyota Camry (1991)
- Chevrolet Pickup Full Size (1999)
- Ford F150 Series/Pickup (1997)
- Dodge Ram (2004)
- Dodge Caravan (2000)
- Acura Integra (1994)
- Ford Explorer (2002)
- Ford Taurus (1999)
Why are older-model Hondas and Toyotas in such demand? Two reasons…
- “Certain models of older cars and trucks are popular with thieves because of the value of their parts,” the NICB says. Makes sense: Hondas and Toyotas were top-selling vehicles in the ’90s, and their owners tend to drive them into the ground. Hence, a big market for replacement parts.
- “Improved technology is one of the keys to lower theft rates,” the NICB says. “Of the nearly 52,000 Honda Accords stolen in 2010, over 44,000 were models made in the 1990s, compared with fewer than 5,700 that were produced since the year 2000.”
In fact, the NICB has four suggestions for how to prevent your car from being stolen, and only one of those doesn’t involve technology…
Common sense: “Lock your car and take your keys” sounds blindingly obvious, but as the NICB notes, “Many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.”
Warning devices: “Having and using a visible or audible warning device can ensure that your car remains where you left it,” the NICB advises. Although who among us hasn’t been annoyed by those blaring car alarms – and ignored them?
Immobilizing devices: This is the fancy term for a “kill switch,” and it’s one of the two best options if you’re buying a new car. These devices will range from fuel cut-offs to smart keys, and the NICB says they’re “extremely effective.”
Tracking devices: Also proven “very effective,” tracking devices now go far beyond the LoJack commercial of a few years ago. “Some systems employ telematics, which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle,” the NICB says. “If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner, and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.”