Car Thieves Still Love Jacking Escalades & Full-Sized Pickups

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (AKA the people who have all the fun smashing cars into walls without getting ticketed) has released its annual report on which vehicles are the most- and least-frequently boosted by car thieves. And once again the top 10 list is dominated by big pickups and that rolling cliche of new money, the Cadillac Escalade.

According to the IIHS, the frequency of theft claims filed for Escalades was 10.8 per 1,000 insured vehicle years, 8 times that of the average vehicle. And among Escalade models, the EXT was the most frequently stolen with a rate of 14 claims per thousand insured vehicle years.

And then there are all the pickup trucks on the list. In fact, the only car on the top 10 was the Chrysler 300 (and 300C).

From the IIHS:

Pickups are another favorite of thieves, and the Ford F-250 crew cab 4-wheel-drive comes in second to the Escalade for the most theft claims, with other models ranking high on the list. Overall, pickups have much higher theft losses than passenger cars and SUVs ($24 per insured vehicle year versus $9 and $12, respectively), though from 2007 to 2009 pickup losses fell substantially. The decrease may be because of the fact that ignition immobilizers, which prevent vehicles from being hot-wired, recently have become more common in pickups. The technology became widespread in cars and SUVs earlier.

But considering that immobilizers are standard in Escalades, they obviously aren’t doing a perfect job of keeping thieves at bay.

“Immobilizers are a good deterrent against joy-riding teenagers, but professional thieves can easily haul away an SUV on a flatbed truck,” says the senior VP at the Highway Loss Data Institute, which provided the information for the IIHS report. “A pickup that can’t be driven away is still vulnerable to having tools and cargo snatched from its bed.”

SUVs dominated the list of the least-frequently stolen vehicles, including the Mercury Mariner, which tied with the Audi A6 4WD for the fewest claims, 0.5 per 1,000 insured vehicle years.

However, the Audi’s $16,882 average loss payment per vehicle claim was higher than any vehicle in the most-frequently stolen list.

Cadillac Escalade, large pickup trucks top list of thieves’ favorite vehicles, claims data show [IIHS.org]