A new survey by Rivervale Leasing has found that the humble Ford Fiesta is the most stolen car in the UK, with 2,384 models pinched last year. As one of Britain’s best-sellers, these superminis are a firm favourite of many drivers so there are lots of them around the nick, it has to be said.
Closely following the Fiesta is the Land Rover/Range Rover, which is far more at risk in terms of percentage ratio, with 1,917 models nicked last year, but considerasbly fewer units sold than the Fiesta. IE magazine recommends that every RR owner uses a steering lock, and a solid metal post behind the vehicle when parked at night – these vehicles, especially the Overfinch and Autobiogrphy editions are highly sought after by international car smuggling gangs.
Yet more Land Rover drivers are at risk as the Rivervale data also reveals that 791 Land Rover Discovery cars were targeted. Another luxury choice which isn’t far behind is the Mercedes-Benz E Class, which was subject to 612 thefts last year.
As so many premium cars are stolen each year, we analysed how many vehicles are returned to the owner. But the results may not give drivers much confidence.
Only 2 in 5 stolen vehicles are returned
After studying 10 years of data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Rivervale Leasing discovered that, on average, just 2 in 5 stolen vehicles are returned to the owner.
Even if you do get your car back, it’s not likely to be returned in a good condition. Statistics also show that 75% of stolen vehicles come back damaged, with a shocking 22% written off completely. There is of course a ready market for used luxury car parts, so older vehicles are often taken to `chop shops’ for this process to begin within hours of the theft. Dismantling the Range Rover, Merc or Audi is another good way to find any tracker devices of course.
Some Extra Stats
About 45% of cars are stolen between midnight and 6am. About 94% of UK vehicles have no Tracker installed, so that reduces the chances of it being recovered by the POlice – or a tracking app company of course.
Keyless entry theft has doubled between 2008 -2018, as the number of cars using this method of driver entry has increased. Keyless cars should always have the keys inside a Faraday puch or box, and a steering lock fitted. Yep, it’s a pain, but if you don’t want to have your keyless car stolen, a solid lump of metal is a great deterrent.
Some 40% of all car crime is recorded in the West Midlands, West Yorkshire or Greater Manchester.
10 top tips to prevent car theft
1. Park your vehicle in your garage, or at least parked on your property
2. If you need to park away from home at night, go to a well-lit area
3. Check all windows are closed before leaving your vehicle
4. Install an anti-theft device to discourage thieves, like a wheel lock
5. If you have keyless entry, use a signal-blocking pouch
6. Get a GPS tracker so you can always monitor your vehicle
7. Keep all valuables and electrical equipment out of sight
8. Don’t keep your keys in a visible place at home, like beside a window
9. Park with your wheels turned towards an obstacle to deter thieves
10. Always lock your doors, even when you’re driving
But if you want to take extreme protective measures, you could try a different vehicle completely. The FOI data also uncovers which cars were stolen the least.
Alfa Romeo 145 drivers could be less at risk, as only 1 was stolen last year. However, you will break down about 16 times a year in an Alfa 145 and sourcing spare parts for a rare, early boxer engined model, may turn into an Arthurian quest for the Holy Grail.
Rivervale also discovered that just 3 Volvo XC40s and 7 Abarth 695s – it’s the hot hatch version of the Fiat 500, in case you’re wondering – were pinched, so you might be safer driving one of these!