The Ford F-250 pickup is the new favorite vehicle target of thieves, reports the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), edging out the Cadillac Escalade from the top spot.
The four-wheel-drive F-250 crew cab has a claim frequency of seven per 1,000 insured vehicle years, or nearly six times the average for all vehicles.
"General Motors has put a lot of effort into new antitheft technology, so that may help explain the decline in the Escalade's theft rate," said HLDI Vice President Matt Moore in a statement. "On the other hand, sales of the Escalade have fallen in recent years, so there may be less of a market for stolen Escalades or Escalade parts."
Karl Brauer, senior director of insights from Kelley Blue Book, said he was not surprised by the list.
"The F-Series has been the best selling truck and a best-selling vehicle for a couple decades, so the F-250 being the most stolen really does make sense," said Brauer. "I think the shift in new housing starts and the increased opportunity for general contractor work is driving the increase in everything related to trucks, including the rise in truck thefts. Full-size and heavy duty trucks have always been a relatively large segment of the market, but we're seeing a real jump in this activity over the last few months. That means more people are using trucks, which means more people will need parts related to trucks.
The HLDI notes, however, that its data doesn't distinguish theft of vehicle contents or components from theft of an entire car. It notes that many pickup claims are the result of equipment theft from the truck bed, and "that may be the case with some of the F-250 claims."
The HLDI's list differs from that of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which reported last August that the 1994 Honda Accord was the most frequently stolen car in the U.S. in 2011 for the fourth consecutive year.
Also, HLDI's data is based on the number of insured vehicles on the road. In contrast, information published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau simply lists the most frequently stolen vehicles. As a result, that list usually reflects the most commonly driven models, HLDI states.
HLDI's list of cars with the eight lowest theft claim rates have the same claim frequency of 0.4. Those eight include the Dodge Journey 4WD, Volkswagen Tiguan 4WD, Audi A4 4-door, Acura RDX, Toyota Matrix, Lexus HS 250 hybrid 4-door, Honda CR-V, and the Hyundai Tucson 4WD.
Here's HLDI's list of vehicles with the highest insurance theft claim rates among 2010-12 passenger vehicles:
|Ford F-250 crew 4WD|
Claim frequency: 7.0 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew|
Claim frequency: 6.7 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
|Chevrolet Avalanche 1500|
Claim frequency: 6.1 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
|GMC Sierra 1500 crew|
Claim frequency: 6.0 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
|Ford F-350 crew 4WD|
Claim frequency: 5.6 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
|Cadillac Escalade 4WD|
Claim frequency: 5.5 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
|Chevrolet Suburban 1500|
Claim frequency: 5.4 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
|GMC Sierra 1500 extended cab|
Claim frequency: 4.7 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
Claim frequency: 4.5 per 1,000 insured vehicle years
Claim frequency: 4.4 per 1,000 insured vehicle years