Last year, Rivervale Leasing submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA to uncover the UK’s most stolen cars in 2019. Now, after submitting a new request, they can reveal the latest 2020 figures.
The top 15 cars stolen in 2020
- Ford Fiesta – 3,392
- Land Rover Range Rover – 2,881
- Volkswagen Golf – 1,975
- Ford Focus – 1,587
- BMW 3 Series – 1,435
- Vauxhall Astra – 1,126
- Land Rover Discovery – 900
- Mercedes-Benz E Class – 766
- BMW 5 Series – 678
- Nissan Qashqai – 655
- Ford Kuga – 620
- BMW X5 – 551
- Fiat 500 – 358
- Mercedes-Benz GLC – 342
- Audi A6 – 268
75,000 vehicles were stolen in 2020 – almost 20,000 more than 2019
The DVLA data discloses that a huge 74,769 vehicles were stolen in 2020, which equals 205 thefts per day. Shockingly, this is 18,481 more vehicles than our last report. We asked the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Department for Transport and the Home Office for a response on these findings, but unfortunately they declined to comment.
It is interesting that vehicle theft rose during lockdown, by such a huge margin, when most people in the insurance industry thought claims would decline as people were working from home a great deal more. Once again, the stats show that pro thieves are targeting luxury/prestige cars and these are often broken up for parts, or shipped abroad by organised gangs, and then given a new identity/plates.
Insurers and brokers can gain a clear insight into the modern chop shop and vehicle export operation by reading this story from the Liverpool Echo. It shows that a NW based gang were targeting luxury cars in London, using hired vehicles to get gang members home after jobs, and Dubai and Turkey were preferred destinations for the exported stolen Range Rovers, Audis, BMWs etc.
Another London based gang were convicted last year after a major Police operation. They were finding and removing tracker devices, then paying couriers to drive the vehicles to Northern Cyprus, which is under Turkish control. Many of the gangs involved in trafficking stolen cars are also trafficking people, drugs, guns, ammunition, fake designer goods like watches etc.
Your 60K Merc is just another product in their global distribution chain.
The Ford Fiesta and Focus models obviously have a problem with their keyless entry system. It must be far too easy to scan. In response, the Fiesta and Focus are the first Ford models to pioneer new keyless entry fobs, with sleep mode to protect against being hacked. If you leave the fob alone for 40 mins then it goes into sleep mode by itself and in theory, it cannot be scanned. Existing Fiesta owners can upgrade their fob for about £70 by the way.
One new addition to the Rivervale top 15 in 2020 was the Nissan Qashqai, which is a mainstream car not generally known for its prestige appeal or impressing the neighbours. Once again, this is a model that seems particularly easy to steal using the keyless entry fob scanning method, and the best solution for many Qashqai owners would probably be a steering lock.
By the way NHS workers are being targeted for catalytic converter thefts, as they tend to park near hospitals for long shifts, often leaving vehicles parked on suburban streets all night. Again, the Qashqai is a popular model with women, who make up the majority of the workforce at many hospitals.
One detail worth noting from the survey – nobody is stealing pure electric cars in any volume yet. Maybe they have very little prestige, or maybe the thieves arn’t confident they will make it to the chop shop. For now, you’re safer leasing a Renault Zoe than a Fiesta, although you will have to fork out an extra £40-£60 per month to rent one.