Here Are America’s Most Stolen Cars Of 2021: Report

Morning Dump Stolen Silverado

Chevy trucks top 2021’s stolen car list, GM plans a Super Cruise expansion, Hino’s emissions woes are worse than previously thought. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

The Chevrolet Silverado Is Now America’s Most Stolen Passenger Vehicle

A Silverado that may or may not soon be stolen
Photo credit: Chevrolet

The National Insurance Crime Bureau, a long-running non-profit dedicated to fighting insurance fraud and crime, has released its list of the most stolen cars last year. Chevrolet full-size trucks managed to bump Ford full-size trucks out of the number one spot, although not by much. Figure 48,206 stolen Chevrolets versus 47,999 stolen Fords. The Honda Civic and Accord take third and fourth, while the Toyota Camry rounds out the top five.

Curiously enough, the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee combine to occupy the eighth spot on the list despite being two extremely different vehicles. That’s a bit like combining totals for stolen Toyota RAV4s and 4Runners because they both have the number four in their names. Also, while older vehicles generally occupy most of the list, the most-stolen model years of the Nissan Altima and Toyota Corolla were both 2020.

Passenger vehicle thefts in 2021 were up eight percent overall compared to 2020, something that doesn’t seem terribly surprising to NICB President and CEO David Glawe judging by an NICB statement.

“Used car values are at historical highs,” said David Glawe, President and CEO of NICB. “We have seen a nearly 35% increase in used car values over the last two years due to supply chain issues and inflation. Stolen cars can be shipped overseas and resold or broken down for valuable used car parts here in the U.S.”

Indeed, since we’re experiencing a shortage of almost everything, it makes sense that professional thieves would steal popular models. Car security is usually via obscurity and it can be surprisingly easy for thieves to use a repeater method on newer vehicles, register a new key on some older vehicles, or simply tow vehicles away. As ever, avoiding car theft is largely about making your car less attractive to thieves.

GM To Double Super Cruise Network

2019 Cadillac Ct6 With Super Cruise Engaged.
Photo credit: Cadillac

While I’m not normally a huge fan of Level 2 driver assistance, GM’s Super Cruise really is on a different level from everything else I’ve tried. This hands-free driver assistance system works well in stop-and-go traffic, stays nicely in a lane, and features a fairly appropriate hand-off process. However, Super Cruise does have a big drawback in its limited selection of mapped highways. Thankfully, GM plans on doubling the Super Cruise network starting this year. Let’s see what GM’s media release has to say.

For new vehicles in the GM portfolio built on the VIP electrical architecture, the expansion will be available later this year and will be delivered at no additional charge, over-the-air starting in 2022 on Super Cruise-equipped models.

Super Cruise currently works on mapped divided highways, known as interstates. This expansion will enable Super Cruise to work on many additional state and federal routes, a combination of undivided and divided highway roads. A few notable routes with large sections coming online with this expansion include:

    • The Mother Road – U.S. Route 66
    • Pacific Coast Highway – CA Route 1
    • Overseas Highway – U.S. Route 1
    • Trans-Canada Highway

I’ll be honest, adding undivided highways to the Super Cruise network feels like a big deal as it adds new risk. For example, big sections of the Trans-Canada Highway permit unprotected left turns which pose a fairly severe collision risk compared to controlled-access highways. GM must have confidence in Super Cruise as driver assist systems draw under scrutiny when their use is potentially involved in collisions. It’s also worth noting that not every vehicle equipped with Super Cruise will be eligible for the full update. The Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Cadillac CT6, and Cadillac XTS will only receive a limited map expansion due to being built on older electrical platforms.

Hino Lands In Emissions Trouble

Hino 300
Photo credit: Hino

You’ve probably heard of Hino, former makers of the Contessa and current Toyota commercial vehicle subsidiary. Well, it turns out that the company may have falsified emissions reports on some engines dating back to 2003. Reuters reported on Tuesday that a company-commissioned probe found evidence of emissions misconduct dating back to when “In Da Club” went number one. The probe also essentially drew and quartered the company’s corporate culture, which Reuters reports is a pretty rare thing in Japan.

The committee, composed of lawyers and a corporate adviser, was set up by Hino this year after it admitted to falsifying data related to emissions and fuel performance of four engines. Its findings, released on Tuesday, detail an inflexible atmosphere where it was difficult for staff to feel “psychological safety”, the committee said in a report.

A sense of past success on the part of management helped engender the culture, said committee chairperson Kazuo Sakakibara, who was the former head prosecutor at the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office.

“The magnitude of their past successes has made them unable to change or look at themselves objectively, and they have been unaware of changes in the external environment and values,” he told a briefing.

“The organisation has become an ill-organized one where people are unable to say what they cannot do.”

Well damn, Sakakibara really went in there. It’s no secret that pride makes organizations do foolish things, and bullshit emissions reporting definitely registers at least a solid 6.5 on the foolish scale. So what happens next for Hino? Well, the company has pledged to recall 29,000 vehicles and come up with a new corporate governance system within three months, but we’ll really need to wait and see what penalties might come to the Japanese vehicle marque.

Royal Enfield Is Having A Great Time

Royal Enfield Classic 350
Photo credit: Royal Enfield

I try not to hold one manufacturer above any other simply due to personal history. It doesn’t matter that my granddad’s first bike in India was a Royal Enfield, past attachment isn’t indicative of current product. However, because I’m not one for picking favorites, I also never like to see a vehicle manufacturer doing badly. Needless to say, I’m quite chuffed to see Royal Enfield doing very alright. The Hindustan Times reports that Royal Enfield sales were up last month, brilliant news in an era where new vehicles of any sort are hard to come by.

Royal Enfield declared its sales figures for July 2022 in which it sold about 55,555 motorcycles compared to 44,038 motorcycles sold in the same period last year. Royal Enfield registered a growth of 26 per cent. Taking into account the motorcycle manufacturer’s international growth, Royal Enfield exported 9,026 motorcycles, marking a year-on-year growth of 90 per cent compared to 63 per cent last year.

Holy crap, 90 percent export growth is amazing news. From this position, I totally understand how export sales have been so strong. A lot of people refocused their priorities towards fun over the course of the pandemic and Royal Enfield makes affordable bikes that carry the sexy retro aesthetic of the moment. The Continental GT has the cafe racer look on lock, the Himalayan has proper adventure vibes going on, and the Classic 350 just looks so old-school in a Great Escape sort of way. Good stuff.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Wednesday, which means that we’re three days into the work week, the perfect time to talk about three-wheeled cars. Whether the doorstop visual lunacy of the Bond Bug or the engineering wonder of the Carver One, I’d love to know what your favorite three-wheeled automobile is.

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49 Responses

  1. The Flush:
    A few years ago, I was on a motorcycle trip and the hotel we were staying at had a bunch of Grinnall Scorpions in the parking lot. Pretty cool little three wheeler and much more attractive than the hideous Slingshot. The only downside is that each one made required the sacrifice of a BMW K bike for its powertrain.

  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that the average American car-user really can’t tell much about vehicles other than the manufacturer and the color. I’ve given up trying to clarify that my Grand Cherokee is not just a different trim package of my coworker’s XJ…and when I bought a Wrangler, I had to repeatedly confirm that it was “the one with the roof that comes off.” Even police departments seem to have trouble distinguishing a Cherokee from a Grand Cherokee.

  3. I’m extremely surprised that the Charger and Challenger didn’t make it onto the most stolen car list. I live in the Detroit area and it seems like every other day I hear about another one of them getting stolen

  4. It should come as no surprise that the most stolen vehicles using raw numbers are also some of the most common vehicles on the road. Honda has been making Civics and Accords for thousands of years (even Jesus drove one, though he didn’t talk about it ), and I’m pretty sure God himself used Ford and Chevrolet pickups when he was constructing the Garden of Eden.

    Whenever I see these lists of “most stolen” vehicles, I wonder what the ratings would look like if the numbers were normalized against the quantity of each model registered and on the road. Are sports cars and supercars frequent theft targets but don’t make the list because there are so few of them? Are Kias truly disproportionately stolen due to that USB cable trick that’s been going around, but they don’t make the list because they haven’t been around as long as pickups and Hondas?

    I’m curious.

    1. You’re 100% right. Most stolen and highest proportion stolen are two vastly different things. It’s just like when crash numbers come out and F-Series and Silverado trucks top the list. No shit, Sherlock there are more of them on the road. These numbers are pretty meaningless without perspective.

      1. No, they’re very meaningful in the ways I described in my own post, which is why we pay attention to them.

        They tell us two big things. One, the general proportion of a given year/make/model on the road as well as still on the road. Apparently 2015 Kia Optimas are unkillable and found all over California, for example. Or at least the corpses of 2015 Kia Optimas. Look, I don’t make the rules or the list, I just remind people the most stolen car from 2000 to 2007 was the 1994-2000 Acura Integra. To the point where 3 different years occupied the top 3 slots in every single state for years.
        Two, they tell us the difficulty of stealing these cars. If the most stolen car on the list is a 2022 Ford F150, that tell us that not only is there a bajillionty of them, it’s very easy to steal. Cars with challenging security setups don’t end up on this list. This is the ‘start it with a broken screwdriver’ list. Especially since many cars on the list have permanent 4×4 and AWD (so pick and drag theft is off the menu.)

    1. I saw an Enfield Himalayan yesterday. First time in a very long time that a stock bike made me pause for a look. It seemed to be whispering ‘Psst! Hey, let’s go have some fun!’ instead of shouting that the rider likes to cosplay badass. I remember reading about Enfield some time ago and liked the history and ethos. First time I’ve ever seen one here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I hope to see more. Looked simple, unaffected, and capable.

    2. It certainly doesn’t hurt that someone realized bikes don’t really need to be part of a continuous arms race of development or extremely high priced. Except for ABS and traction control, a lot of the tech on Japanese bikes is almost tech for techs sake. I worked the parts counter for a decent number of years in the 80s and 90s and even by then the proliferation of one year/model only parts was a fucking nightmare. Cosmetic parts might as well not of existed. I can’t even imagine the shitshow it must be now.

      Today we’re gonna test drive the top three most stolen vehicles in America, generously loaned to us by this guy over here! REMEMBER TO LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE!!

  5. The only 3 wheeler I like is the Slingshot. However I get more use out of my CrossTrek.

    Can stop at store for more than one item, drive in the rain without getting soaked, can somewhat secure my goods, don’t need a helmet (my state and others require one), and for less cost with better MPG.

  6. The late model Altima and Corolla thefts make sense if you live in a major metro area. In D.c., starting in 2020 and rolling into 21, we saw a bunch of (Amazon usually) delivery drivers lose their cars. They’d leave them running while tossing packages and someone would just hop in and roll. Usually stealing anything valuable in the packages and then dumping the car. A lot of those drivers used those 2 cars.

  7. Regarding 3-wheelers, I built one that I use as a daily. It’s in my profile. $0.15 of electricity gets me 150-200 miles of range at 30-35 mph cruising speeds. It tops out at 45-50 mph depending on state of charge. It can also be pedaled to 35 mph in a full-effort sprint with the motor disabled.

    Among those that can be bought or will soon be on the market, I’d have to go with the Aptera. I really like its efficiency.

      1. Powering the trike is a Leafbike 1500W 3-phase PMDC motor with a 3T wind. 1500W is the nominal power rating at 48V, and the company was overly conservative, so bone stock, it really delivers about 2 kW continuous at 48V. At the time I took the photos in my profile, I had it set up for 3 kW peak at 48V.

        I’m currently in the process of upgrading everything in the vehicle. The next step is to go to 72V, and with ferrofluid and a hubsink, the continuous power should be around 3 kW and peak power around 10 kW. Top speed should increase to around 70 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration will be under 9 seconds. After that, I will upgrade to 130V, and retain similar continuous and peak power capabilities, but with max power extended out to a much higher RPM, which will allow a top speed somewhere in the neighborhood of 110 mph(which is why the trike is getting all of these upgrades). When completed, the entire vehicle will be somewhere around 100 lbs, will be stout enough to cruise 70 mph on the highway without worry of mechanical failure and without the motor overheating, and will be pedalable to faster-than-bicycle speeds with the motor disabled thanks to its aerodynamics. In some jurisdictions, it will legally remain a “bicycle” set up this way.

        It will be hooned around on a regular basis.

  8. “not every vehicle equipped with Super Cruise will be eligible for the full update”

    I feel like this is a bigger deal than it reads here… you bought Super Cruise, possibly in an expensive vehicle, and now you’re not even getting a full update of it?! Seems like a raw deal (standard for GM tho).

  9. “The Honda Civic and Accord take third and fourth, while the Toyota Camry rounds out the top five.”

    And inexplicably, 1994-2001 Acura Integras took fifth, sixth, and seventh despite not having been made in over 20 years and almost exclusively having manual transmissions. (/the joke)

    But seriously, if you look at the stats, nowhere on there will you see the supposed ‘plague’ of Kia thefts that police are somehow utterly helpless to stop despite their brand new military surplus M1A1 ‘riot control vehicle.’ In fact, we had to go to the state-by-state breakdown to find any Kias or Hyundais, and they’re all bottom of the list and 2015 or older.
    Because what these lists actually show you are two things. One, what cars are currently on the road which need parts – stolen cars aren’t sold whole. They’re parted out. They have no value if nobody’s buying those parts, so if they’re being stolen in large numbers, then there’s a lot of those on the road demanding parts.
    Two, how difficult a car is to steal. Professionals can break into anything, but what they’re really looking for is the easiest and quickest turnaround. Time is money, and in auto theft, time is risk. If you can’t get in and gone damn quick, then you’re going to get caught red-handed. Repetition makes you faster, but if you can’t do it pretty fast the first time, then you’re gonna punch the lock, see the clock, and run. (Or get arrested and go to jail.)
    ANY professional car thief will tell you – as a former one told me – that they have an internal clock. If they can’t get in and get started within a certain window of time, then they bounce, and it’s a ‘broken into’ car instead of a ‘stolen car.’ And it’s not based on police response or some mythical security system or anything like that. It’s just knowing how long it takes to get in and get gone and knowing when the risks aren’t worth it. You’d be surprised how many successful car thieves are never caught and instead ‘retire’ to become locksmiths or repo men.

    “Well, it turns out that the company may have falsified emissions reports on some engines dating back to 2003.”

    And this is in Japan. This NEVER happens in Japan. EVER. NEVER EVER. Japan doesn’t have regulations, at all, not for big companies. Which is exactly why Fukushima happened; TEPCO submitted blatantly falsified reports and audits, but their buddies said ‘hey, you know best, whatever.’ If a nuclear meltdown due to negligence and falsified reports and records only resulting in a few firings, three indictments, and zero convictions in a country with a >99.5% conviction rate doesn’t tell you exactly how fucked it is, well, shit. I don’t know what to tell you.
    So for Hino (who exports) to get slapped in Japan is not only massive news, it also means the violations were inexcusably massive. Japan is not particularly stringent on emissions regulations. Despite Shaken. Actually, Japan didn’t introduce any emissions standards at all until the late 1980’s.
    But the ’05 diesel emissions standards in Japan (adopted in ’03) were the most stringent in the world, and they’ve remained that way. Tokyo even has an actual law requiring older diesels be retrofitted with catalytic converters and/or particulate filters due to smog, which was introduced in ’03.
    Read those dates again. That’s why this matters a lot. They are literally saying that even before regulations were in force (the ’03 law took effect in ’05) Hino was submitting falsified emissions. And they’re blaming the people at the top, which NEVER happens. It’s a huge cultural taboo.
    Especially because Hino is Toyota. Yeah. Hino is the heavy vehicles division of Toyota since 2001.

    Watch for even more fallout from this one, because Hino is also a MAJOR exporter of trucks, buses, and engines. And in ’21 Toyota got a 4.6% stake in Isuzu (all modern GM cabovers are Isuzus) as part of a joint partnership to develop engines, fuel cell technology, and electric light trucks.
    Major current export countries? Canada, Europe, Russia, and the United States. They have plants in Canada, Ireland, Russia, and West Virginia that have been manufacturing these cheating engines. This could get very big.

    “Royal Enfield declared its sales figures for July 2022 in which it sold about 55,555 motorcycles”

    I love this number not only because it is a palindrome, but because Royal Enfield absolutely deserves it. They’re making a range of very appealing bikes, taking care and paying attention to quality, and offering them at not only reasonable but accessible prices.
    If you want to take up riding, you can go pick up a Royal Enfield Classic 350 with a 3 year warranty and roadside assistance, which is unheard off in bikes – with ABS which I would consider a MANDATORY feature for a new rider – for just $4600. Not “$4600 plus like $800 for ABS.” $4600. Period. Literally I can go to my local dealer and get one for that right now (plus some bullshit they try to tack on after the fact like ‘battery maintainer fees.’ Fuck off with that. It hasn’t even been there a month.)

    Seriously. If you’re interested in taking up riding, go buy one.

  10. The new Morgan Super 3 definitely has me intrigued as far as 3 wheel cars go. Lots of heritage to the Morgan brand and the looks are quirky, bordering on odd with the inclusion of the sideblades, but looks to have some truly practical features.

  11. Do the theft numbers include recovery rate? Is that 49k silverados that got chopped or some getting chopped and some being joy-ridden before being found and ultimately returned? I would assume the number of people buying and driving complete, stolen cars in the country they were stolen in is pretty low.

    If it’s the case that 90k Ford and GM trucks got chopped last year, who is buying all those hot parts?

    The Piaggio Ape is the best three wheeler, no contest.

  12. Anecdotally, the highest percentage of vehicles stolen in my company’s fleet are 3-row SUV’s (the Expedition is almost 1 in 10 stolen), basically anything that’s rather uncommon and valuable in whatever country doesn’t pay much attention to the many shipping containers that end up in their ports.

    Also, it seems like Royal Enfield smartly noticed there was a gap in the market for affordable, decent looking bikes, but have gone out of their way to build something with enough quality to get repeat customers. Should I ever buy a new bike, the Continental might well be the top contender.

  13. “Chevrolet full-size trucks managed to bump Ford full-size trucks out of the number one spot, although not by much. ”
    Yeah, but if you add in the stolen GMC trucks, GM beats Ford like a rag doll! (obligatory Chevy>Ford comment)

    I found it interesting that the most common year for all stolen trucks (including Dodge/Ram) was 2005. Does this say something about the longevity of these trucks (asks the guy who drives a 2004 Toyota Tundra with >300,000 miles)? Or is it because those years are inherently easier to steal? I think it’s probably the former.

    1. This is a really good interpretation question which demonstrates both the utility and futility of this list.

      You’re absolutely correct; a high theft rate directly corresponds to ease of theft. Either because of laziness and negligence (work trucks the employees don’t bother to lock) or because “hey watch what I can do with this screwdriver.” If it was harder to steal, it wouldn’t get stolen, they’d find an easier target.
      But then we get to the ‘does this speak to longevity.’ And the answer is: it’s complicated. The driver of thefts is essentially parting vehicles out. Which means there is a very high demand for parts for these vehicles. Which one would think speaks to the longevity of them, but! If they were long-lived, they wouldn’t need parts, would they?
      Ah-ha! The double-edged sword strikes.

      Consequently, the only thing that we actually can infer from the data is that a large number of trucks are both easy to steal and there is a high demand for parts from them. And these parts may not even be for these trucks. They may be interchange across multiple years or even multiple vehicles. i.e. 2005 Ford F-150’s would cover 2004-2008 as well as 1997-2004 and 2009-2014 for some parts, as well as Ford Mustangs, vans, commercial trucks, etc.

      1. “If they were long-lived, they wouldn’t need parts, would they?”

        I have to disagree there. A long-lived vehicle doesn’t mean that every single part lasts as long as all the others. In fact, I’d argue just the opposite: vehicles that stay on the road longer are likely going to need more parts over time. Especially when we’re talking about trucks. Door/tailgate latches fail, windows break, body panels get too dented to be acceptable, as well as power steering pumps, steering racks, A/C units, failing, etc.

        But your point about interchangeability of parts between older and newer models years is also a good one and could be another factor.

        Without more data, we’ll never know.

  14. How about Piaggio MP3? I saw several of them just off Tail of the Dragon back in 2009 or so and was very confused by what I was looking at. The guys and gals in the cafe (I think they had “Sidewinder” club patches) said it was ideal for the tight curves as you could lean farther faster without losing traction.

    1. Looks like they’re lumping all trucks by each manufacturer together. That’s a BIG pool to steal from and probably distorts the numbers quite a bit. Even farther down the list are still individual name plates that have been around a long time, like the Civic and Accord. Hyundai hasn’t been operating here as long and they’ve changed their naming conventions up. Way more Honda Civics on the road cumulatively since 1972 than Kia Souls since 2008.

        1. Definitely. Stealing .01% of something vs stealing .5% of something may not get the latter the top spot, but it’s much more useful for the owners and insurers.

          Undoubtedly the insurers know the rates vs gross numbers.

          1. One would hope so, but isn’t this an industry that will change your rate based on the number of doors you opt for? It’s surprisingly difficult to communicate to most people that a ’96 Prelude has more in common with a ’96 Accord than with a ’97 Prelude. A lot more.

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