August 22, 2003
Cadillac Escalade tops list of most stolen vehicles in US
Arlington, Virginia – The Cadillac Escalade SUV has the most frequent theft claims among 2000-02 model passenger vehicles, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Its theft claim frequency is about four times the average for all vehicles in the United States.
“The Escalade has both the highest theft claim frequency and the worst overall theft losses – 10 times the average for all vehicles – indicating it’s a top target for thieves,”says Kim Hazelbaker, HLDI senior vice president. “The Escalade’s theft losses are the highest even though it’s equipped with a standard antitheft ignition immobilizer. These immobilizers have reduced thefts of other vehicles, but we don’t know why they don’t seem to be effective for the Escalade.”
The vehicle that topped last year’s list, the Integra, was redesigned in 2002 and renamed the RSX. So far the RSX doesn’t have the same high rate of theft claims as the Integra.
“Theft investigators believe the old Acura Integra was targeted by car thieves for its parts, including the engine, which then were sold to people who modify Honda Civics, “Hazelbaker says. “These same components also are interchangeable between the RSX and the new Civic. We’ll have to wait and see whether the RSX becomes a target.”
HLDI results are the only reported theft results based on the number of insured vehicles. Information on insurance theft losses published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau and CCC Information Services doesn’t take into account how many of each vehicle are insured, so the most popular vehicles on the road tend to top these organizations’ lists of most-stolen vehicles. In contrast, HLDI identifies vehicles with the worst theft losses by counting the number of claims by make and model relative to the number of each make and model insured, indicating which vehicles are more likely to be targets.
Overall theft losses (stated as average loss payments per insured vehicle year) reflect both how often claims are made for particular vehicles and the cost of the claims. The Escalade tops the list of vehicles with the worst overall theft losses.
Since 1980 overall theft claim frequencies have declined while average insurance payments per claim have increased, although these trends have leveled off in recent years. Some of the decline in claim frequencies and overall losses reflects the increased installation of immobilizing antitheft devices in many new vehicles.