Cars That Thieves Can’t Resist

In the universe of vehicular grand theft, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and Dodge Charger HEMI have claimed the dubious honor of being the most-stolen vehicles, according to the latest report from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). It’s not just Dodge models that are attracting attention—four Kia vehicles also made an unexpected debut on the list due to a viral trend. But while some cars seem irresistibly attractive to criminals, electric vehicles and some General Motors models enjoy relative safety from theft.

The Irresistible Allure of Dodge Muscle Cars

The theft numbers for these Dodge muscle cars are jaw-dropping. Claims for the Charger SRT Hellcat were 60 times more frequent than the average for all vehicles from the 2020-2022 model years, relative to their numbers on the road. The Charger HEMI wasn’t far behind with theft claims more than 20 times the average. It’s worth noting that both the Charger and Challenger models have been a recurring theme on the most-stolen lists since 2011, but the frequency of claims has surged remarkably.

“If you own a Hellcat, you better check your driveway,” said HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore. “These numbers are unbelievable.”

To put things into perspective, for the 2020-2022 Charger SRT Hellcat models, there were 25 whole-vehicle theft claims per 1,000 insured vehicle years. That’s up from about 18 for the 2019-2021 models. In contrast, the most-stolen vehicle from the 2017-2019 model years, the Infiniti Q60, only had 2 thefts per 1,000 insured vehicle years.


Unexpected Contenders and Perennial Favorites

A viral trend that targets Hyundai-Kia vehicles helped propel four Kia models into the top 20. Theft of these vehicles, which often lack electronic immobilizers, have increased significantly in recent years. Luxury brands like BMW, Infiniti, and Land Rover, and powerful pickup trucks also feature prominently on the list.

On the flip side, the Infiniti Q50 has remained a fixture on the most-stolen list since 2014, a phenomenon that has yet to be fully understood.

Why Some Cars Are Less Tempting Targets

Interestingly, six of the 20 models with the fewest claims for whole vehicle theft were electric vehicles. Another six were produced by General Motors. Electric cars generally seem to evade the clutches of thieves, likely due to the fact they are often parked in secure, well-lit areas for charging. Several high-end Volvo models also appear to be less appealing to car thieves, ranking among the least-stolen vehicles from 2020-2022.

Unpacking HLDI’s Unique Data Analysis Methodology

HLDI’s approach to evaluating vehicle theft differs from other organizations. While some reports focus solely on the raw numbers of thefts, skewing results towards more common vehicles, HLDI uses a more nuanced analysis. Their reports consider claims per insured vehicle year, allowing for a more accurate comparison of the relative risk of each vehicle being stolen.

To isolate whole-vehicle thefts from other theft-related claims, the Institute also compares the amounts paid for total losses under collision coverage to those associated with each theft claim, adjusting for various demographic and geographic factors.


The Dichotomy of Auto Theft

The high-performance Dodge Challenger and Charger models have earned a reputation that no car owner would desire—being a favorite target for thieves. With viral trends boosting the theft of certain brands like Kia, car owners need to be increasingly vigilant. However, if you’re an electric vehicle owner or someone driving certain General Motors models, your car likely sleeps a bit more soundly at night.

HLDI’s data serves as a useful guide, highlighting the importance of security features and the role of car make and model in the likelihood of theft. So next time you’re in the market for a new car, remember—some choices might just keep you on the safer side of statistics.

See AlsoHow to Report a Stolen Vehicle

Charts courtesy of HLDI. Featured photo under license from Adobe Photo Stock.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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