Toyota Camry, Audi S8: Top Targets For Car Theft

November 4, 2011

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released new data on U.S. car theft, and the statistics aren't especially surprising. According to the report, more Toyota Camrys were stolen than any other vehicle in America, but performance models like the Audi S8 actually had the highest rate of theft.

The data comes from 2009 (the NHTSA is still crunching numbers from 2010), and if you're the sort of person who enjoys poring over spreadsheets, this is a fascinating way to spend your Friday afternoon. The NHTSA ranked vehicles according to their rates of theft, and at the very top of the list, we find the 2009 Audi S8. 

If you own a 2009 S8, however, you likely weren't a victim: just two of the 227 units manufactured that year were stolen. However, because the NHTSA ranks vehicles by their rate of theft per 1,000 vehicles produced, the S8's theft rate is magnified to 8.81. A similar effect put the 2009 Ford Shelby GT and 2009 BMW M5 in the #2 and #3 spots, with five and two thefts, respectively. 

In terms of sheer volume, though, more 2009 models of the Toyota Camry/Solara were stolen than any other car produced that year. That's probably to be expected, though, because more 2009 Toyota Camrys and Solaras were manufactured than any other car: in all, thieves drove off with 781 of the 447,882 units Toyota made. Because of the high production rate, though, the theft rate for the Camry/Solara was just 1.74 per 1,000.

Clocking in at #2 was another Toyota -- the 2009 Corolla -- with 632 of 363,515 units stolen. The 2008 Chevrolet Impala came in at #3, with 499 units stolen out of 183,769 produced.

That said, there were plenty of 2009 models that thieves missed altogether. Some are no-brainers, like the 2009 Bentley Azure (just 66 units produced), the 2009 Lotus Exige (27 produced), and the 2009 Spyker C8 (18 produced). Others are a little more curious: for example, despite being fairly popular rides, no baddies thought to nab a 2009 Mazda Miata (4,293 produced) or a 2009 Volvo XC90 (6,806 produced)?


As with any compilation of data, this one raises as many questions as it answers. For example, since calendar years and model years don't neatly align, we have to wonder how many 2009 models were stolen in 2008? Or in 2010, for that matter? Is the 2009 Camry more desirable than other model years? And what about trucks and SUVs, which were mostly left off the NHTSA's list?

One thing we know for sure is that car theft rates are slipping. In 2009, the average was 1.33 vehicles stolen per 1,000. That's down 21.3% from the rate of 1.69 thefts per 1,000 that the NHTSA recorded in 2008.

Why the drop? The NHTSA attributes it to "increased use of standard antitheft devices (i.e., immobilizers), vehicle parts marking, increased and improved prosecution efforts by law enforcement organizations and increased public awareness measures".

But what about you: have bad guys (or gals) tried to run off with your car? Were they successful? And if not, why not? Drop us a line with the details, or leave a note in the comments section below.

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