The Top 10 Most Stolen Cars in 2022

by | Nov 7, 2022 | Auto-Dealerships, Blogs

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It’s a terrible feeling to return to your parking spot and find that your car is simply… gone. Auto theft has long been a significant problem in the United States. The rate of reported car theft has increased over the past two years, likely related to economic factors. But some cars make more appealing targets than others. These models might be easier to steal, more plentiful, or easier to chop into parts for resale. Whether you own a car dealership or simply own a car, it’s useful to know the most stolen cars.

How Common Is Motor Vehicle Theft?

Nationwide, there are more than 720,000 reported vehicle thefts each year, according to the most recent FBI crime data. That’s an average of 2.2 thefts per 1,000 people, or more than one vehicle stolen each minute of each day. These thefts account for more than $6 billion in lost property–$8,886 per incident. About half of the stolen vehicles are recovered and returned to the rightful owners. But that means the other half aren’t.

November 2022 update: According to the most recent data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, 2022 will likely set record-high car theft totals. Over 745,000 vehicles were stolen in the first three quarters of the year, totaling $6.6 billion lost. If these trends continue, the United States may have over 1 million vehicle theft incidents this year. 

The likelihood of your vehicle being stolen varies, depending on factors like where you live, how secure your property and car are, and–of course–what kind of car you own.

The Top 10 Most Stolen Cars as of 2022

The following are the most stolen cars in America right now, according to the July 2022 “Hot Wheels” report from National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Together, this list represents 15% of all stolen vehicles in the United States during 2021.

  1. Chevrolet Pickup
  2. Ford Pickup
  3. Honda Civic
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Toyota Camry
  6. GMC Pickup
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Honda CR-V
  9. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  10. Toyota Corolla

Let’s break down each of these vehicles and see what makes them so appealing to thieves.

#1: Chevrolet Pickup

Chevy’s full-size pickups are perennial entrants on this list, recently overtaking Ford for the top spot. The biggest appeal of this vehicle as far as thieves are concerned is its popularity among buyers. There are simply more of them available to steal. According to Insurify, the Chevy Silverado is one of the top 10 most commonly owned vehicles in the country, making up 1.55% of all cars on the road. It’s also the priciest out of these most common vehicles, making it a desirable target. Because pickups are often hauling or towing other valuable goods, it’s possible that thieves are going for a 2-for-1 crime.

  • Total annual thefts: 48,206
  • Top model year stolen: 2004

#2: Ford Pickup

Similarly, Ford’s full-size pickup trucks are frequently at the top of the list for most commonly stolen cars. The F-Series (think the Ford F-150 and F-250) is the second most popular car in the country, particularly in the heartland. Notably, thieves made away with approximately $1 million worth of F-150s from a factory lot in Dearborn, Michigan, earlier this year.

  • Total annual thefts: 47,999
  • Top model year stolen: 2006

#3: Honda Civic

The Civic is one of three Honda models on this year’s list. It’s one of the most commonly owned vehicles on the road, taking the top spot in ultra-populated California. This car has been in production for quite a while, meaning there are older model years with fewer security features and just as many sellable parts.

  • Total annual thefts: 31,673
  • Top model year stolen: 2000

#4: Honda Accord

Honda has also produced the Accord for many years. It’s currently the most popular car in the country, making up 3.06% of all cars on the road. Historically, the Civic and Accord have been the most stolen cars over the last 10 years. Many components of these cars are interchangeable, which means thieves can resell the parts easily.

  • Total annual thefts: 30,274
  • Top model year stolen: 1997

#5: Toyota Camry

The Camry is another popular car, particularly because of its affordability and practical size. Toyota is known for making long-lasting, reliable cars. To thieves, that means a lot of older models on the road, which means fewer security features to overcome and a larger market for illegally resold parts.

  • Total annual thefts: 17,270
  • Top model year stolen: 2007

#6: GMC Pickup

Another American-made pickup truck makes the list of most stolen vehicles. Like Chevrolet, GMC falls under the General Motors umbrella. That means that the two popular truck makers share many parts (and many anti-theft measures). In fact, until recently, the GMC Sierra was essentially the same truck as the Chevy Silverado, with only minor aesthetic differences like the grilles. Since Chevy pickups are the most stolen car, it’s unsurprising that GMC pickups also make the list.

  • Total annual thefts: 15,599
  • Top model year stolen: 2005

#7: Nissan Altima

The Altima is a mainstay sedan for Americans, especially in the south. What’s surprising about its inclusion on this list is that thieves target recent model years the most. According to MotorBistcuit.com, thieves typically steal these cars through a high-tech “relay attack.” This involves picking up and transmitting the non-encrypted signal from the owner’s key fob. Basically, thieves are using the car’s actual key and never truly “breaking in” in the traditional sense. As a result, these newer cars are often sold whole rather than being chopped for parts.

  • Total annual thefts: 14,108
  • Top model year stolen: 2020

#8: Honda CR-V

Yet another Honda makes the list. This one is a top-selling small SUV, beloved by families and those dwelling in snow-laden northern states. The CR-V has been around long enough that the secondary parts market for older vehicles is booming. Hence, it’s frequently stolen.

  • Total annual thefts: 13,308
  • Top model year stolen: 2000

#9: Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

This year marks the first time the Jeep Cherokee has had the dubious honor of being one of the most stolen vehicles. Why these models? Likely some combination of how ubiquitous they are and how much a stolen Jeep fetches. Back in 2016, car thieves in Houston targeted Jeeps after getting their hands on a list of codes used by locksmiths and dealers to program fobs. Police noted that these vehicles sell for good money in Mexico.

  • Total annual thefts: 13,210
  • Top model year stolen: 2018

#10: Toyota Corolla

One out of every 50 cars on the road in the U.S. is a Corolla. This model is budget-friendly, reliable, and somewhat unremarkable in design. Translation? There are a lot of Corollas out there, and they don’t attract much attention when they get stolen. The frequently stolen 2020 edition has keyless ignition and a built-in touchscreen, which might explain its popularity with thieves.

  • Total annual thefts: 12,927
  • Top model year stolen: 2020

Beyond the Top 10 (Most Stolen Cars)

Although these models are stolen most often across the country, many others are frequent targets. The Hot Wheels report also includes a breakdown of most stolen vehicles by state. Beyond the top 10, the list includes:

  • Audi: A6
  • Chevrolet: Equinox, Express, Impala, Malibu, Suburban, Tahoe
  • Chrysler: 300/300M, Town & Country
  • Dodge: Caravan, Charger, Durango, pickups
  • Ford: Econoline, Escape, Explorer, Focus, Fusion, Taurus
  • GMC: Savana, Yukon
  • Hyundai: Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Tucson
  • Jeep: Wrangler
  • Kia: Forte, Optima, Rio, Sedona, Soul, Sportage
  • Land Rover: Range Rover
  • Mitsubishi: Mirage
  • Nissan: Frontier, Versa
  • Pontiac: Grand Prix
  • Ram: Pickups
  • Subaru: Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback
  • Toyota: 4Runner, Highlander, Rav4, Tacoma, Yaris
  • Volkswagen: Jetta

November 2022 update: Kia and Hyundai models are popular targets so far this year. Minneapolis, Detroit, and Washington D.C. have all reported recent upticks in the theft of these vehicles. This is partially connected with the “Kia Boyz” trend that became infamous via TikTok, particularly in the Midwest.

Car Owners: How to Protect Yourself from Auto Theft

To safeguard against car theft, the NICB recommends drivers take these precautions:

  • Make sure your vehicle is registered with the National Motor Vehicle Theft Bureau (NMVTBI).
  • Lock your vehicle and roll up your windows.
  • Park in a well-lit area, preferably one watched by guards and/or security cameras. (If you have a car with the keyless start feature, stick to closed garages as much as possible.)
  • Never leave your keys or valuables in plain sight inside your car. In fact, keep your key far away from the vehicle itself if you can.
  • Install a security alarm on your ignition and/or doors.
  • Get an immobilizer to prevent hot wiring, where thieves bypass the ignition system with a wire harness to start the engine. You might also want to consider a GPS tracking device.

If your vehicle is stolen, report the crime as soon as possible to maximize your chances of getting it back. Cars reported within 24 hours have a 34% recovery rate.

Business Owners: How to Protect Your Dealership from Auto Theft

Many vehicles are taken directly from dealers’ lots. If you don’t have adequate security measures in place, your inventory is at risk. Here’s what you can do to secure your auto dealership:

  • Install bright floodlights and timer lights to keep the entire property well-lit, especially after hours.
  • Keep the grounds tidy and immediately repair any damaged windows or doors. This tells thieves that you pay attention to your property.
  • Perform routine background checks on all staff.
  • Use wheel locks, GPS trackers, or immobilizers‌.
  • Restrict entrances and exits with gates.
  • Change locks, codes, and passwords frequently.
  • Store keys, fobs, code lists, and dealer plates in a secure, hidden location indoors.
  • Strategically park cars in a way that makes them difficult to tow away. For example, engage e-brakes, turn the wheels sharply, and box in valuable models.
  • Invest in automotive dealership live video surveillance. It’s cheaper than hiring full-time security staff and offers complete 24/7 coverage of your dealership.

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