Theft of late-model vehicles is dropping dramatically in the United States mainly to technologies employed by carmakers to stop such crime, according to separate reports published by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Highway Loss Data Institute. One of the reasons for the decline is the carmaker's increasing use of ignition immobilizers, which prevent thieves from hot-wiring cars.
It was estimated that almost nine of ten 2012 models are equipped with ignition immobilizers. NHTSA and the private group, however, differed on what model is the most theft-prone vehicle in US. NHTSA said in its report that the Dodge Charger was the vehicle most often stolen in 2011, with 4.8 thefts for every 1,000 cars produced in 2011. The Charger was followed by the Mitsubishi Galant, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet HHR.
HLDI, however, beg to differ. In its own report, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-backed HLDI said the Ford F-250 crew-cab with four-wheel drive was the most often stolen vehicle in the US, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Avalanche 1500, GMC Sierra 1500 crew, and Ford F-350 crew with four-wheel drive. HLDI's report covered model years 2010 to 2012.
The Cadillac Escalade dropped to sixth in HLDI's ranking after General Motors revised the sports utility vehicle to make it more difficult to be handled by thieves. Matt Moore, HLDI vice president, said in a statement that GM "has put a lot of effort" into new antitheft technology, which could be the reason for the decline. He said different results for NHTSA and HLDI could be due to differences in methodology. Moore said that HLDI based its rankings on a database of insurance claims, while NHTSA based its report on thefts reported to police.