Normally, automakers clamor for any award or accolade they can get their hands on, displaying them proudly in advertisements and dealership windows. But Honda has once again won top honors for something that probably won’t make it into any ad copy.
Two of the automaker’s most popular models, the Accord and the Civic, were the two most-stolen car models last year, according to a report released Monday by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Thieves targeted 53,995 Honda Accord sedans last year, along with 45,001 Honda Civics. The report included thefts from all model years.
The Toyota Camry, the top-selling car in the US last year, came in fifth on the NICB’s list, with 14,420 cars reported stolen. Pickup trucks were also well-represented: Full-size pickups from Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge had 27,809; 26,494; and 11,347 models reported stolen, respectively.
Dodge Caravan ((10,911 stolen), Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (9,272), Toyota Carolla (9,010), and Nissan Altima (8,892) rounded out the top 10.
In a separate ranking, the NICB also tracked thefts of brand-new 2013-model cars. Nissan Altima topped that list with 801 thefts, followed by Ford Fusion, Ford pickup (full-size), Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Impala, Hyundai Elantra, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Cruze, and Ford Focus.
As the rankings make clear, popular targets for car thieves aren’t high-end luxury vehicles, like Mercedes and Porsches. Rather, they tend to be models that sell a high-number of units and tend to have less in the way of security features (especially in older model years). Still, car thefts have been trending downward for the past two decades, and after a slight increase in 2012, the FBI estimates they declined 3.2 percent in 2013.
“The drop in thefts is good news for all of us,” NICB president and chief executive Joe Wehrle said in the NICB’s release accompanying the report. “But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year. That’s why we applaud the vehicle manufacturers for their efforts to improve anti-theft technology and pledge to continue to work with our insurance company members and law enforcement to identify and seek vigorous prosecution of the organized criminal rings responsible for so many of these thefts.”
Car thefts in the US peaked in 1991, at about 1.7 million. The following year, the federal government enacted the Anti Car Theft Act of 1992, which called for harsher penalties for auto theft and carjacking, as well as a national car title registry to be made available to local and federal law enforcement agencies. Those measures, along with more sophisticated locks and alarm systems in newer vehicles, have helped cut theft totals down to about 700,000 in 2013 (if FBI estimates hold).