Government statistics indicate that over 785,000 cars were stolen in 2019. This was down slightly from the year before, but these thefts cost approximately $6 billion.
Thefts vary considerably from state to state. ByAutoInsurance reports that, per 100,000 people, car thefts are highest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then Oakland, California, and Portland, Oregon.
In 2020, more than a quarter of the nearly 800,000 reported stolen cars were one of just 10 different models. To determine the most stolen car in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the NICB’s Hot Wheels report. Car brands were ranked based on the total number of thefts in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.
Many auto thefts are crimes of opportunity, meaning that thieves had no prior plans to steal a car but decided to swipe one once they noticed an opportunity. This may happen if a car is running unattended or is parked in a dark, isolated area. The NICB recommends drivers lock their doors, not leave their keys in their vehicle and park in well-lit areas. For added security, drivers can add additional locks, kill switches and tracking devices.
Of the 10 most stolen cars, five are sedans, four are pickups and one is a sport utility vehicle. The most stolen cars likely are on the list because of how popular they are. Each of the 10 most stolen cars sold well over 100,000 units in 2020, averaging over 365,000 sales that year.
The most stolen car in America is the Ford full-size pickup. Here are the details:
- Total thefts: 38,938
- Model year most stolen: 2006 (3,061 stolen)
- 2020 unit sales: 787,372
NICB numbers are based on data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center. Additional data on the most frequent vehicle year stolen also came from the NICB. Data on unit sales in 2020 came from automobile industry site GoodCarBadCar.