Over 74,700 cars were reported stolen during 2020 according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), a rise of more than 20,000 on the previous year. And if you look further into the figures, this averaged out at around 200 stolen cars per day.
With these latest stats putting the spotlight on car security, we take a brief look at the 10 most stolen cars in the UK and why you need to run a stolen car check before purchasing any new vehicle.
When it comes to which car is the most stolen, then the 2020 figures were unequivocal – one of the UK’s most popular cars, the Ford Fiesta. 2020 saw 3,392 Fiestas taken without consent, making this top-selling supermini also the country’s most stolen car.
With 2,881 stolen in 2020, the Range Rover was the UK’s second most stolen car. As a premium 4×4, the Range Rover is a covetable vehicle and so has become a key target for car theft criminals.
The UK’s third best-selling car during 2020, VW’s Golf also proved to be the third most popular car for thieves, with 1,975 taken without consent. Combining build quality and performance, the Golf is a desirable car, a fact which has not been lost on the thieves.
Ford’s popularity with car thieves continues with 1,587 of the fourth place, Focus, stolen during 2020. A popular family car, the Ford Focus was also the UK’s fourth best-selling vehicle in 2020.
BMW 3 Series
Incredibly driver-friendly as well as efficient and fun to drive, the ever-popular BMW 3 Series also proved to be a thief magnet, with 1,435 of this prestige vehicle stolen during 2020.
Long a family car favourite, the Vauxhall Astra is a mid-sized hatchback that clearly has some big appeal when it comes to car thieves. With plenty of these popular cars on the road, the Astra attracted the attention of 1,126 car thieves during 2020.
Land Rover Discovery
As a premium SUV, the sizeable Land Rover Discovery is a favourite of both urban as well as rural dwellers, with around 13,000 sold in the UK every year. And the popularity of this prestige car means it made the stolen vehicle top 10, with 900 taken during 2020.
The sizeable – and covetable – Mercedes E-Class is used to making many of the top 10 car lists, but this time, it comes 8th in the UK’s most stolen cars 2020 list. A total of 766 of the high-end E-Class were reported stolen during the year.
BMW 5 Series
The 5 Series is also used topping the charts, being the UK’s Luxury Car of the Year for the past five years. And this popularity unfortunately attracts the wrong attention, as 678 of these luxury cars were stolen in 2020.
As a family car/SUV crossover, the Qashqai ticks a lot off boxes as an everyday drive, and this popularity has brought the car just inside the UK most stolen car top 10, with 655 taken without consent during the year.
With around one third of car thefts involving cars with keyless entry and a quarter occurring due to car keys being stolen, there are some key things drivers can do to help protect their own vehicle from car thieves.
If your car is keyless, then security devices such as signal blockers can make a difference. And ensuring your car keys are not on show or easily accessible in your home will prevent and deter opportunistic thieves. Other key things you can do to safeguard your car are:
- Install security lighting on your property or park in well-lit areas
- Always lock your car and use your garage, if you have one – and keep it locked
- Consider installing a tracking device on your car
- Don’t leave items out such as ladders, tools or anything that could be used to break into your car or home.
And finally, to avoid any future issues and ensure you are not buying a stolen vehicle, always do a Car Check before buying a second-hand car. A stolen car check is the perfect way to highlight any possible issues that may arise when purchasing a new vehicle and gives you peace of mind you aren’t unknowingly breaking the law.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes these cars more susceptible to theft?
The cars that make it onto the most stolen list typically possess certain characteristics that make them attractive to thieves. These include outdated security systems, popular models with a high demand for parts, inadequate immobilisation mechanisms, and a lack of advanced anti-theft technologies.
Are there specific regions in the UK where car theft is more prevalent?
Car theft rates can vary across different regions of the UK. Historically, areas with higher population densities and urban centres have experienced higher rates of car theft. Cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds have reported higher incidents of car theft. However, it is important to note that car theft can occur in any part of the country, and vigilance is essential regardless of location.
How can I check if a car has been stolen before purchasing it?
To check if a car has been reported stolen before purchasing it, you can perform a vehicle history check. Various online services offer these checks, providing information about the car’s history, including any theft records. These checks also provide additional valuable details such as outstanding finance, previous accidents, and mileage discrepancies, helping buyers make informed decisions.
Are these cars more expensive to insure due to their high theft rate?
Insuring a car that falls under the category of frequently stolen vehicles can indeed result in higher insurance premiums. The increased risk of theft associated with these models may lead insurance companies to perceive them as higher risk, resulting in higher insurance costs. However, it’s important to compare insurance quotes from multiple providers to find the most competitive rate tailored to your specific circumstances.
Does the list of most stolen cars change every year?
The list of most stolen cars in the UK can vary from year to year. As thieves adapt their techniques and target different models, the rankings can shift. It is crucial for car owners and potential buyers to stay updated on the latest trends in car theft to take appropriate precautions.
What do thieves typically do with stolen cars?
Thieves have different motives for stealing cars. Some may dismantle the vehicles and sell the parts separately, as certain models have a high demand for components. Others may clone the stolen cars’ identities and sell them with fraudulent documents. Some stolen vehicles may also be used in other crimes or exported to foreign markets. However, law enforcement agencies are actively working to combat these activities and recover stolen cars.
Are there any specific car features that can make a car less likely to be stolen?
Modern cars often come equipped with advanced security features designed to deter theft. Features such as immobilisers, alarm systems, steering wheel locks, GPS tracking devices, and encrypted key systems make it more difficult for thieves to steal a vehicle. Additionally, parking in well-lit areas, using secure parking facilities, and employing additional physical deterrents can further reduce the likelihood of theft.
What should I do if my car gets stolen?
If your car gets stolen, it is crucial to act promptly. First, contact the police and provide them with all the necessary information, including the vehicle’s make, model, colour, licence plate number, and any distinguishing features. Notify your insurance company immediately to initiate the claims process. Sharing the details of the theft on social media platforms can also raise awareness and potentially aid in the recovery of your vehicle.
Is there a correlation between the car’s value and the likelihood of it being stolen?
While the value of a car does play a role in its desirability to thieves, it is not the sole determining factor. Certain high-value luxury vehicles may be targeted due to their desirability and the potential for lucrative resale. However, popular and commonly available models often make up a significant portion of stolen vehicles due to the demand for their parts.
What is the recovery rate for stolen cars in the UK?
The recovery rate for stolen cars in the UK varies depending on several factors, including the specific circumstances of the theft, the promptness of reporting, and the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts. While recovery rates have improved in recent years due to advancements in tracking technologies and collaborative efforts between police forces, it is still important to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of theft.