Most stolen cars: is your car on the wanted list?

Did 2022 see an increase or decrease in vehicle theft? And is your vehicle on the hit list? We explore.

In 2021, we reported that, with the easing of lockdown and COVID restrictions came an increase in the number of vehicles stolen. There was a whopping 32% increase in cars stolen at the end of June 2021 compared with the end of January, with over 89,000 vehicle thefts across England and Wales in 2020/21.

While that figure seems high, it pales into comparison with 2022’s report of 108,542 motor vehicle thefts! That’s a 22% increase in just one year.

However, it’s worth comparing this to non-COVID times. For context, Statista reports that it is still fewer than the eye-watering 307,000 thefts reported in 2003, which was then followed by a steep decline seeing just over 70,000 vehicles stolen a decade later, in 2013/2014.

The media attributes much of the recent increase in vehicle theft to a decline in police numbers – and it is believed that this is responsible for the increase in total crime offenses overall, not just vehicle theft.  In total, there were approximately 6.43 million crime offences in 2019/20, an increase of 1.43 million offences when compared with 2013/14.

Which cars are most stolen?

Last year, Auto Express released that the Ford Fiesta was the most stolen vehicle. So how are things looking for 2022? Is your vehicle in the Top 10?  

1. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most stolen car, with 5,724 stolen in the last 12 months, at a rate of 41 thefts per 10,000 cars.

One of the reasons is that it is also one of the most common models in the UK, so there are simply more out there to steal. With production on the Fiesta coming to end in 2023, after 46 years since going on sale, what will take its place?

2. Range Rover

Just over 5,209 Range Rovers have been stolen over the last year – they are either stripped for their expensive parts or stripped of their identity and sold abroad.

3. Ford Focus

2,048 Ford Focus cars were stolen over the last year. Like the Fiesta, this could be due to the sheer volume available, as it remains the second most common car on UK roads.

4. Volkswagen Golf

Coming in hot on the wheels of the Focus is the Golf, with 1,959 stolen over the last year.

5. Land Rover Discovery

Despite the Discovery having a reputation of unreliability, that hasn’t stopped thieves stealing 1,778 of them last year!

6. Vauxhall Corsa

Over the last year, 1,268 Corsa’s were stolen by thieves. As a competitor to the Fiesta, and the third most popular car in the UK, we expected to see higher figures.

7. Vauxhall Astra

1,215 Astra’s were stolen over the past year – that’s an average of 3 a day!

8. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

DVLA data states that an average of 18 Mercedes-Benz C-Class are stolen each week, making it the most popular German car for thieves. It comes in at a high 27 thefts per 10,000 vehicles!  

9. Audi A3

Although ‘just’ 805 A3’s were stolen over the past year, that equates to 19 per 10,000 vehicles, a statistic very close to the Ford Focus. The lower number stolen simply means there are fewer on the road.

10. Ford EcoSport

Ford’s third entry into the Top 10 includes the EcoSport, with 656 stolen over the last year. In terms of theft per 10,000 it comes in second to Land Rover!

How to prevent car theft

DVLA data obtained by Riverdale Leasing revealed that 58,082 vehicles were recorded as stolen over the last year.

That’s a shocking 159 vehicles a day!

While the most determined thieves won’t be deterred, there are some things you can do to add an extra layer of security to your vehicle to avoid more opportunistic theft.

To help prevent against car theft, installing an alarm, steering wheel lock or wheel clamp can help to deter thieves. You can also mark your car by getting your windows etched to make altering its identity or selling it on more difficult.

It’s common sense but always worth a reminder as many leave their car unlocked, allowing car thieves easy access. When you lock your car, make sure you haven’t left any windows or sunroofs open, try to park in a well-lit public place and don’t have expensive belongings showing.

Fitting a tracking device is also very useful, although it won’t prevent your car from being stolen, in the unfortunate incident of theft it can make it easier to recover your vehicle.

The rise of keyless car theft

You may have wondered why something like a £100,000 Range Rover has an aftermarket steering lock fitted. The reason? It’s likely to prevent keyless car theft!

Research by Tracker shows that keyless car theft has increased in recent years, with 96% of the cars recovered having been stolen without a key.

These thefts include keyless entry cars stolen using specialist equipment. Thieves will mirror the signal from the key which tricks the car into believing the key is near, allowing the thief to break in.

To prevent keyless car theft, the easiest thing to do is keep your keys safe. Keep your keys in a signal blocking key pouch and store them away from any doors or windows. A signal blocking pouch will prevent the signal from reaching the vehicle or any thieves equipment.

What should I do if my vehicle has been stolen?

If your vehicle has been stolen, your first port of call is to report it to the police on 101 (or 999 if the theft is in progress and you are at risk).

The next port of call is to contact your vehicle insurer and file a claim on your car insurance policy.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to make a claim for vehicle theft, call or pop into your local branch. We are here to help you every step of the way. 

Sources: Statista, DVLA, National World, Tracker.