Home » These Are The Most Stolen Vehicles In America

These Are The Most Stolen Vehicles In America

Most Stolen Cars Ts1
ADVERTISEMENT

For years, we’ve been telling you about the ascendance of SUVs and full-sized pickup trucks in America. This wasn’t just true for car buyers, it was also true for car thieves. While someone will still happily boost your full-sized truck if you’re not careful, sedans have made a sudden resurgence on the annual list of most stolen cars.

Every year the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) puts out a list of the “Hot Wheels” list of the most stolen vehicles and there’s been a pretty obvious trend for a while. Pickup trucks are regularly the most popular vehicles in the United States and were, unsurprisingly, the most stolen.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Car thefts were sliding for a number of years as cars became harder to steal and the national economic conditions improved. That’s changed as a mixture of pandemic supply shortages and shortsighted car design/TikTok teens have caused thefts to rise year-over-year 1% since 2022.

Let’s look at some old lists and see if you can spot a trend. Here’s 2021:

Hot Wheels 2022 Top Ten List

ADVERTISEMENT

You’ll notice a lot of full-sized pickup trucks and other super popular vehicles like the Civic, Accord, Camry, and Corolla.  That makes sense.

Here’s 2022:

Nicb 222list

Trucks are still at the top of this list but, hmm… something has changed. All of a sudden the Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Elantra are on this list. Also there is the Kia Motors Corporation Optima, which is definitely the way a normal person refers to that specific vehicle. I can distinctly remember the day my dad called to tell me he’d just gotten a great deal on a Kia Motors Corporation Soul.

Naming weirdness aside, if you’ve been paying even just a little bit of attention to the world you know that certain Kias and Hyundais are being lifted with the ease of Terry Crews hoisting a juice box. As we wrote when this trend first started in 2022:

ADVERTISEMENT

The targeted vehicles–typically newer model years without push-button start–are said to lack immobilizers. Thieves get in by breaking a window then manipulating the vehicle’s ignition system with a USB cable.

But how? How do you start a Kia or a Hyundai with just a USB cable? Unexpectedly, I found a number of how-to videos on TikTok and YouTube, most of which have now been taken down. Assuming these videos weren’t staged, it appears that the process really is as easy as reports suggest.

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know just how easy it is. Here’s a whole mini-documentary on the Connecticut chapter of the Kia Boyz (aka the Kia Motors Corporation Boyz):

It’s, uh, not hard.

Take a simple-to-commit crime, a ton of available models, and social media and you’ve created the perfect recipe for a crime spree. It got so bad that some insurance companies stopped insuring Hyundais and Kias.

The Most Stolen Vehicles In America Last Year

2023 Year End Vehicle Type Theft Top 5

ADVERTISEMENT

For some reason, the NICB graphic for this last year is only the first five cars, four of which are Hyundai or Kia products (I guess the graphic designer realized that calling it the Kia Motors Corporation was unnecessary). You’ll immediately notice that the top three are Hyundai or Kia sedans.

Here’s the rest of the list:

Screen Shot 2024 05 10 At 12.54.19 Pm

The Silverado and F-150 are back, but they’re much lower than most Hyundai/Kia products, are much lower on a per-capita basis, and thefts are down more than 50% for both trucks.

Hyundais, Kias, and the Honda Civic are way up. While there are two Kia Crossovers on this list (the Sportage and Soul), most of these cars are cars.

ADVERTISEMENT

What’s the deal?

Lower Trim Cars Are Especially At Risk

Kia Soul 2012 1600 06

There are a number of reasons why a car might be stolen and all are at play thanks to the Hyundai-Kia debacle. Obviously, opportunity plays a big role here as basically anyone with a flathead screwdriver and a $5 gas station USB cable can steal one of these cars.

This trick only works with lower-trim models that have a traditional key/lock cylinder, as opposed to a pure keyless entry system with a push-button start. This is one of the reasons why the non-CUV models, which tend to be sold in greater volume as lower-spec models, seem to outweigh the crossovers.

Additionally, back in 2014, for instance, Kia sold way more Fortes, Souls, and Optimas than Sportages. Today that’s mostly inverted, with the Sportage outselling every other Kia.

ADVERTISEMENT

While some of these are crimes of opportunity (the Kia Boyz in the video sell these obviously hot cars for $100 a pop), cheaper cars often have more of a market for used parts. As a general rule, the cheaper a car is the more likely someone will buy used parts for it, which makes sense.

How Not To Get Your Car Jacked

Kia Soul 12 Of 13As a Kia Soul owner, my dad has been sent a club-style steering lock and he’ll eventually get a sticker for his car saying it’s been modified in hopes that’ll reduce any attempted theft. Other Hyundai-Kia owners have been luckier as there are software upgrades that can be made.

The NICB has a list of some fairly obvious things to do:

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Hide valuables out of sight, such as in the glove box or trunk.
  • Do not leave your keys in your vehicle.
  • Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running.

All of that’s relatively straightforward, but there’s another bit I think that’s equally as important:

  • If your vehicle is stolen, call law enforcement and your insurer immediately because reporting a vehicle as soon as possible after it is stolen increases the chance of recovery.

The numbers bear this out, with 34% of stolen vehicles being recovered within 24 hours of the car being stolen. The odds are always better the quicker you can report it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Another way to increase your odds? Don’t buy a Kia or Hyundai product from this era.

Topshot: rugercm/stock.adobe.com

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
50 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
MDMK
MDMK
16 days ago

Between the Kia Boyz and defective Theta II engines, id imagine lower trim Sonatas and Optimas from the 2015-2019 era are quickly becoming uncommon sights on our roads. Even now, I’m as likely to see an older 2011-2014 Sonata then a 2015-2017 Sonata SE.

The theft problem will only get worse across all models. Just wait until the U.S. thieves adopt the sophistication of their Canadian brethren where stolen vehicles can be plucked from victims garages and sailing across the Atlantic before their former owners even realize they’re missing.

Space
Space
16 days ago

I miss the old Kia oval logo, you could swap a Ford or Subaru badge in its place and you now have instant confusion.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
17 days ago

Drive an EV or a manual transmission.

MiniDave
MiniDave
17 days ago

Friends had their new MINI Countryman stolen this morning from their driveway. I asked if the keys were in it and they said yes, they had just run back in the house to get something and heard it drive off…….*sighs* .
This happened to another one of our local MINI club members a couple years ago, and the word was put out on Facebook and the car was recovered the next day about 50 miles from home with 400 new miles on it and little to no damage. They got lucky. But, yep – keys in a running car, owner just popped into the house for a second to get something…..

GumpertApolloGuy
GumpertApolloGuy
18 days ago

Drive a manual, that’ll keep em away

Younork
Younork
17 days ago

While yes, it’ll make it much harder for them to actually steal your car, I’m not convinced they’ll notice it before breaking your window and destroying your steering column.

Cranberry
Cranberry
16 days ago
Reply to  Younork

Yep, only real fix is to dump the car. I’ve already seen a post of someone who had the Club equipped and the car was vandalized, started and crashed into the cars next to it before being ditched.

What I did was wrap a python lock around the steering column and add a remote start/security system. (in lieu of the update)

It would have prevented theft, but that combined with being a Theta II, the washer fluid tank letting go was the final straw.

Interestingly, it would be financially better if the car was stolen and totaled rather than traded in.

I got fed up worrying about seizing in rural areas and vandalism in urban areas and decided to eat the cost to get something better built.

3WiperB
3WiperB
18 days ago

If there was a Detroit area list, I feel like the Dodge Charger would be near the top of that list.

Marques Dean
Marques Dean
17 days ago
Reply to  3WiperB

Dodge Charger,Dodge Challenger and the Chevy Camaro. It seems in recent months thieves have been raiding the Lansing Grand River assembly plant (where the Camaro was built) storage yards to boost Camaros waiting to be shipped to dealers.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
18 days ago

So absent super cars how does it compare with sales of similar vehicles?

Livinglavidadidas
Livinglavidadidas
15 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Pretty strong correlation with full size trucks I would say

TDI_FTW
TDI_FTW
18 days ago

Would be cool if they did a thefts per registrations number…

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
18 days ago
Reply to  TDI_FTW

The charts would certainly be a lot more useful.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
18 days ago

I recently purchased a ’24 Sonata N Line. This is my highest insurance rate ever after a lifetime of Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers. Senior citizen, excellent credit, excellent driving record, living in a very poor, sparsely populated state.

Clark B
Clark B
18 days ago

One of our friends had his Kia Soul broken into several months back. As it was fitted with push to start, it wasn’t stolen, but they broke a window and ripped out several interior trim pieces trying to do so. Another friend has a Kia Optima, the year before they started calling it the K5. It’s push to start as well, but he came to me asking the best way to debadge it, as a precaution. I don’t even know if any of those could be stolen that way, but I don’t blame him a bit. And that’s what really sucks. Given their reputation for being easily stolen, you still might get your car broken into.

Aside from Kias and Hyundai’s, one of the best ways to prevent break ins is to not leave anything that even looks remotely valuable sitting out and visible in your car. I had a coworker whose truck was broken into because he had change in his cupholder. That’s all they took. When I was in college my car was parked right next to one that was broken into. They stole a few pairs of sunglasses the owner had left on the passenger seat, that’s it. They weren’t even name brand, or anything special. I bet they would have gone for my car too, but I am a bit of a neat freak and never keep…well, anything, sitting out and visible in my car. I’ve heard other similar stories, but those are the two that immediately come to mind. I used to work in a metro area and after a rash of break ins, a police officer came and spoke to our company. He said the same thing, the best prevention is to keep anything of any value, or that even looks valuable, out of sight.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
18 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

I debadged my daily, a Kia Rio. I also park it out of sight at work, and under a video camera — if possible — when shopping. Still, I feel like I’m playing roulette every time I return to my Rio. Is today the day I call the police and my insurance agent?

Leaving valuables in a Hyundai/Kia is not the issue. Found booty in a Hyundai/Kia is gravy, to mix a few metaphors. The rise in thefts has everything to do with Hyundai/Kia not installing basic anti-theft hardware in US cars that are required in Canada AND the discovery it takes 30 seconds and a USB plug to drive off in a low-end Hyundai/Kia. One viral video on TikTok was all it took to move Hyundai/Kia to the top of the theft list.

I wouldn’t be talking about this had Hyundai/Kia sold identically equipped vehicles in Canada and US.

MiniDave
MiniDave
17 days ago
Reply to  Clark B

I got up around 5 am to take a leak, and while looking out the bathroom window I saw a white Kia Soul slowly cruising the neighborhood…..it stopped next door and someone jumped out and tried the door handles on my neighbor’s BMW. Fortunately it was locked…..I yelled out the window and they drove off. This is the kind of crap that’s happening all over the country, even here in the quiet suburbs……the best option is to put your car in the garage if you have one, but for sure lock your car and don’t leave anything of value in it.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
18 days ago

Hyundais, Kias, and the Honda Civic are way up. 

How do you figure?

Civic is down from 31k (2021) to 27k (2022) to 20k (2023)

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
18 days ago

The Integra is back and will join future most-stolen lists 🙁

SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
18 days ago

Another potentially insightful set of data ruined by presentation as a count rather than a rate. Thefts per capita, please!

JKcycletramp
JKcycletramp
18 days ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

Seconded!

KevFC
KevFC
15 days ago
Reply to  JKcycletramp

3rd it

AssMatt
AssMatt
18 days ago

Regardless of what the baby seals want you to believe, Clubs save lives: my wife knows I’d kill her if our bottom-of-the-line funtodrive2020HondaCRV is stolen because she didn’t bother to put it on.

Last edited 18 days ago by AssMatt
Scramblerken
Scramblerken
18 days ago
Reply to  AssMatt

You edited this post, and kept the wife beating part in there? Classy.

Scramblerken
Scramblerken
18 days ago
Reply to  Scramblerken

If I pay for a membership does the site become cruelty free?

The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
18 days ago
Reply to  AssMatt

>killing my wife over a 2020 Honda CR-V

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
18 days ago
Reply to  AssMatt

Uh… That’s more of a Charger or Altima owner behavior

Gen-O Bernardo
Gen-O Bernardo
17 days ago
Reply to  AssMatt

you should CO yourself first because the cub is easily defeated with a can of air and a hammer

Space
Space
16 days ago
Reply to  Gen-O Bernardo

That’s awful, why would you kill a cub with a can of air And a hammer, and how would you do it?

Gen-O Bernardo
Gen-O Bernardo
15 days ago
Reply to  Space

LOL you win

ClutchAbuse
ClutchAbuse
18 days ago

This is why I put kill switches on any of my vehicles that don’t have full coverage. If you interrupt the fuel pump ground, that sucker isn’t going anywhere without a tow truck.

JDE
JDE
18 days ago
Reply to  ClutchAbuse

Problem is the thieves don’t know this until they have already torn the car apart trying.

Just get a manual trans and Leave it unlocked with nothing inside it. that seems to be the way Peeps in SanFran tend to avoid paying for new windows daily.

ClutchAbuse
ClutchAbuse
18 days ago
Reply to  JDE

Well sure. Someone trying to steal your car sucks, period. But I’d rather it still be there with hacked wiring and a smashed window then not be there at all.

The alternative is they get it to a chop shop or hoon the living fuck out of it and I get a burned out chassis back if I get anything at all.

Cranberry
Cranberry
16 days ago
Reply to  ClutchAbuse

Actually, you would probably come out thousands ahead if the car was stolen/totaled versus trade-in value today. Or if it was vandalized but not stolen, you’re stuck waiting however long for parts since they’re too popular, and a potentially undriveable car.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
18 days ago

Who’d steal an Altima?

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
18 days ago

someone who wants to blend in

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
18 days ago

Well, they’re all driven like they’re stolen…

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
18 days ago

You don’t steal an Altima. You drive the Altima to the car you want to steal.

Livinglavidadidas
Livinglavidadidas
15 days ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

Steal an Altima to go steal another car. More degrees of separation or something idk I’m not a car thieving dipshit

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
18 days ago

My neighbor had his Kia Forte stolen last fall. When he reported it to the police, the first question was “Is your car a Hyundai or a Kia?” followed with them telling him they’ll add it to the list, but not to hold out much hope. Sure enough, the car was never recovered. He had zero understanding of why Hyundai/Kia vehicles were being stolen in such high numbers until his car was stolen and he started Googling it, at which point he realized why he had been sent a steering wheel lock in the mail. While my neighbor is no rocket scientist, he isn’t a dummy either, so I get the distinct impression that a lot of the Hyundai/Kia thefts could have been avoided by much better communication with owners of the vulnerable vehicles.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
18 days ago

I wonder how many of those Kia Motors Corporation thefts took place in El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora, Reina de Los Angeles del Rio Porciuncula.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
18 days ago

My GMC Sierra was stolen a couple years ago, and recovered before I even knew it was gone. Imagine my surprise when a police officer showed up at my door and asked me, “Sir, why is your truck idling in the alley behind Mahoney’s bar?”

Long story short, I no longer keep a spare key hidden in the truck. We assume it was a kid who found the key while tossing vehicles looking for money, because once they got to a dead-end alley a few blocks away, they just abandoned the thing.

I got SOOOOOOOOO lucky!

Gubbin
Gubbin
17 days ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

I wasn’t so lucky when I went out to find my Pinto missing from its parking spot behind the house. Called the cops to report it stolen, and they said it had been towed for blocking the alley.

Turns out someone had broken in and moved it out of park so they could steal the stereo.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
16 days ago
Reply to  Gubbin

Awe man! 🙁

V10omous
V10omous
18 days ago

I cannot think of a less useful statistic than simply presenting the nationwide total number of stolen vehicles with no context.

-They have been building most of these nameplates for decades, are certain years or submodels more vulnerable?

-There are a lot of F150s and Silverados on the road, is the per-capita theft rate higher or lower than other vehicles? How does it compare to the Hyundai/Kias? Are other less popular vehicles more often stolen per capita, but hidden in the raw numbers?

-Are certain vehicles more likely to be stolen in certain cities or states? If so, which ones?

I know the answers to some of these because I read fine automotive websites like this one. But there’s a lot I don’t know, and an uninformed consumer who knows even less could easily draw some bad conclusions from the data.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
18 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Yeah, this is a pretty useless list – what years, what generations? How many stolen in relation to how many examples registered on the road? You’d expect a high volume seller to be stolen more often than a low production niche model just because there’s more of them available, but if just one Bugatti Veyron gets stolen in a year, that’s a massive percentage of all Veyrons in the country

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
18 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

And I think it’s even worse than we imagined – I can’t even find this “Kia Motors Corporation Optima” on their website! Did someone steal the last one!?!

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
18 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Context?! Arguing that data can only be understood when framed by such context?!?!?! PREPOSTEROUS I SAY!

Seriously, if 60K cars are stolen out of a pool of 5M, your chances are pretty slim even though it would top this list. But if 20K cars are stolen out of a pool of 21K cars…..

Drew
Drew
18 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

It’s like a ton of maps that end up being maps of population density, since raw totals are an awful way to judge most things. But people don’t care to understand that. Big numbers get more eyes on them, I guess.

I once had someone get annoyed that I was talking about something (crime, if I recall) per capita, because he was insistent that it was misleading to account for population…I tried to explain that a town of 100 people with 5 murders would be a heck of a lot different than a town of 100,000 with 5 murders, but he didn’t want to consider that.

Last edited 18 days ago by Drew
Andrew Daisuke
Andrew Daisuke
18 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

yup. this is essentially just a list of really popular cars.

50
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x