New data has revealed the most frequently stolen cars in the UK with a mixture of mainstream best-sellers and desirable premium models topping the table.
Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) show that nearly 75,000 cars were stolen in 2020 and the country’s best-selling car is also its most stolen, with 3,392 Ford Fiesta reported as stolen to police.
Behind it, the high-end Range Rover was the next likely target for criminals, with 2,881 taken last year, ahead of the Volkswagen Golf (1,975) and Ford Focus (1,587) both of which are also among the 10 most commonly registered cars.
However, the Range Rover wasn’t the only premium model that proved popular with criminals, with high-value models such as BMW’s X5 and 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and GLC and the Land Rover Discovery also all among the 15 most commonly stolen cars.
With fewer of these models on the road than mainstream models like the Fiesta and Focus, owners need to be even more aware of the threat to their vehicles.
In 2020 a total of 74,769 were recorded as stolen by the DVLA, equivalent to 205 thefts every single day.
The 15 most commonly stolen models in 2020
- Ford Fiesta - 3,392
- Land Rover Range Rover - 2,881
- Volkswagen Golf - 1,975
- Ford Focus - 1,587
- BMW 3 Series - 1,435
- Vauxhall Astra - 1,126
- Land Rover Discovery - 900
- Mercedes-Benz E Class - 766
- BMW 5 Series - 678
- Nissan Qashqai - 655
- Ford Kuga - 620
- BMW X5 - 551
- Fiat 500 - 358
- Mercedes-Benz GLC - 342
- Audi A6 - 268
The figures, obtained by Rivervale Leasing, show that the list of most popular targets barely changed between 2019 and 2020, with the Nissan Qashqai - Britain’s best-selling SUV - the only car on the list, replacing the Audi A3.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) three out of four stolen vehicles are never returned to their owners. The figures, which only cover England and Wales also show that keyless thefts, such as relay attacks are now the single most common means of taking a car. In 2019-20 36 per cent of thefts involved the “manipulation of a signal from a remote locking device”. Just under a quarter of thefts involved criminals obtaining the keys to the car and thieves forcing a lock or targeting an unlocked car accounted for 14 per cent each.
How to protect your car from thieves
It’s important to protect your car from thieves whether it’s among the most commonly targeted or not, so here are a few simple steps to reduce the chance of losing your car to criminals.
Park it somewhere secure
ONS figures show 76 per cent of stolen cars are taken from the street and 80 per cent of thefts happen at night. So if you have access to a garage or secure car park use it. If you don’t, try to park in a busy, well-lit area where any activity around your car is more likely to be noticed.
Use a signal blocker
With relay attacks now the most common method of theft, it’s vital to protect your key from signal interception. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a Faraday pouch, which you can keep the key in when at home and which blocks the signal. Alternatively, make sure your key is kept well away from external doors and walls and as far away from the car as possible. This makes it harder to intercept the signal and relay it to the car.
Keep the key safe
In a quarter of cases thieves still relied on having access to the keys to steal the car so keep your keys out of sight and out of reach. Don’t leave them near doors or windows as this makes them easier for an opportunistic thief to strike.
Old fashioned physical deterrents like steering wheel locks have soared in popularity in the face of relay attacks. They won’t guarantee against theft by determined criminals but they make you car harder to drive away and therefore less likely to be a target.