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Thieves love pickup trucks this year

For the first time in 10 years, the Cadillac Escalade dropped from 1st place, with Ford's F-250 taking over the top spot.

Is your car theft-worthy?

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), the 50+ year old non-profit automotive scientific research body, has announced their annual list of "Most Stolen Cars".  

Now before you scroll down to see if yours made the top 10, a couple things to know about how they arrived at this conclusion.

The list is based on the number of insurance claims from the three previous model years.  To be included on the list, a vehicle must have at least 100 claims. 

Additionally, HLDI's findings are based on the number of insured vehicles on the road, whereupon the National Insurance Crime Bureau, for example, bases their list on the most frequently stolen vehicles, which results in a list that usually reflects the most commonly driven models.  


Now onto the carnage.


The Cadillac Escalade has long been at the top of that list, in fact, 2013 marks the first time in 10 years that some version of the Escalade has topped the list. 


But this year it fell from 1st to 6th place, which left the IIHS wondering if its new anti-theft technology, coupled with a decrease in popularity, were the reasons for this decline. 


"General Motors has put a lot of effort into new antitheft technology, so that may help explain the decline in the Escalade's theft rate," says HLDI Vice President Matt Moore. "On the other hand, sales of the Escalade have fallen in recent years, so there may be less of a market for stolen Escalades or Escalade parts."

Luxury SUVs and pickups segments continue to dominate the top of the list, and this year, the first-place position was awarded to Ford's four-wheel-drive F-250 crew cab, securing the spot with a claim frequency of 7 per 1,000 insured vehicles, or six times the average for all vehicles.  


The good news though, is overall theft rates are declining.  Much of this decline is attributed to ignition immobilizers (now standard in 89% of 2012 models, they prevent the vehicle from being hot-wired).


Fewer pickups have this feature, which the HLDI thought may explain the rise in theft of that segment. But the Escalade has always come standard with an ignition immobilizer, but the thieves would just flatbed the thing. 


Then the mystery thickens, because this immobilizer comes standard on the F-250...  maybe the thieves just need to move many things? Or perhaps because the HLDI's data doesn't differentiate between theft of vehicle contents, and theft of the entire vehicle, and with those wide-open truck flatbeds, that could be the kicker. 


Here's the complete top 10 list. Much of the list is made up of SUVs, and GM holds a huge eight places.





  Vehicle size/type Claim
Avg. loss
per claim
Ford F-250 crew 4WD very large pickup 7.0 $7,060 $50
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew large pickup 6.7 $5,463 $37
Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 very large SUV 6.1 $6,163 $38
GMC Sierra 1500 crew large pickup 6.0 $6,366 $38
Ford F-350 crew 4WD very large pickup 5.6 $7,517 $42
Cadillac Escalade 4WD large luxury SUV 5.5 $6,508 $36
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 very large SUV 5.4 $4,468 $24
GMC Sierra 1500 extended cab large pickup 4.7 $5,908 $28
GMC Yukon large SUV 4.5 $6,276 $28
Chevrolet Tahoe large SUV 4.4 $5,367 $23
Dodge Journey 4WD midsize SUV 0.4 $5,016 $2
Volkswagen Tiguan 4WD small SUV 0.4 $10,352 $4
Audi A4 4-door midsize luxury car 0.4 $13,803 $5
Acura RDX midsize luxury SUV 0.4 $8,701 $3
Toyota Matrix small station wagon 0.4 $7,782 $3
Lexus HS 250 hybrid 4-door midsize luxury car 0.4 $2,226 $1
Honda CR-V small SUV 0.4 $4,630 $2
Hyundai Tucson 4WD small SUV 0.4 $4,134 $2
Toyota Sienna 4WD very large minivan 0.5 $13,038 $6
Jeep Compass 4WD small SUV 0.5 $5,527 $3
Note: Claim frequencies are per 1,000 insured vehicle years; overall losses are average payments per insured vehicle year.

(chart via



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