The HLDI – or Highway Loss Data Institute – has records of about 85 percent of the insured vehicles in the US. We are repeating the very first information Matt Moore, senior vice president at HLDI, gives at the video above. But that is just to show they have strong numbers to support their studies. And they point Tesla vehicles are among the less likely to be ever stolen. Surprisingly, they are beaten in this ranking by a German competitor: the BMW 3 Series.
Before we go into the numbers themselves, it is important to check the methodology. HLDI has to sort the claims. Some of them are about objects stolen inside the car. Others, for stolen parts, such as the wheels. And there are the whole-vehicle claims, in which the cost of the claim exceeds the value of the vehicle. These were the focus of this study.
HLDI reached the conclusion that the average whole-vehicle theft claims were 0.27 per 1,000 insured vehicles. Anything equal to 0.27 is 100 percent.
Then HLDI dived into the numbers of each model with a 2016 to a 2018 model year and made the relative claim frequency chart below. The lowest the number, the better.
Tesla Model S is in second place, with only 11 percent of relative claim frequency. The Model X has a 12 percent relative claim frequency. Surprisingly, the BMW 3 Series has only 4 percent relative claim frequency, from a single whole-vehicle theft claim reported among 104,901 insured vehicle years.
In other words, among each year of insurance for each BMW 3 Series from 2016 to 2018 model year. At least the ones that HLDI managed to gather data about.
HLDI states low relative claim frequencies are common among electric vehicles. Not only Tesla models. The reason would be that they are “usually parked in garages or close to a house to be near a power supply”. It would have shown that in a previous report, but that does not seem to explain the whole story.
Check all the least stolen vehicles on the list above. There is no other EV apart from the Tesla cars. The closest vehicle to them would be the Lexus RX 450h, a hybrid. If that explanation was correct, we would see at least the Nissan Leaf among the 20 least stolen vehicles.
Another problem with that theory is that 3 Series are not always locked in a garage, just like electric vehicles also park on the streets as any regular car. It probably has more to do with anti-theft systems and demand.
The most stolen cars are the Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Probably because they are fast – what makes for excellent getaway cars – have expensive parts, can be refueled anywhere, and are more common, which makes them more prone to simply vanish.
A Tesla can be tracked, demands more time for being ready for action, and has the very Sentry mode that caught a glass-breaking butt in Palo Alto. Apart from constant updates and other features that may demote bad guys to steal the company’s vehicles.
You are probably missing the Model 3, right? It was first delivered in July 2017, which could put some of them in this study even if Tesla does not use model years for its cars. But there is no data for it on this study, according to HLDI. And the institute went no further in explaining why. If you have a guess, drop us a comment on why this may have happened.
Gallery: Tesla Cars Less Likely To Be Stolen, But German Competitor Beats Them
Dodge cars with big engines top HLDI's list of most stolen vehicles
August 1, 2019
Two large cars known for their powerful engines — the Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat — top the Highway Loss Data Institute’s list of vehicles most likely to be stolen.
Both vehicles have claim rates for whole-vehicle theft that are more than 5 times the average for 2016-18 models, as does the Infiniti Q50, a midsize luxury sedan. Nearly all 20 models with the highest theft rates are either vehicles with big engines, luxury vehicles or pickups.
Somewhat puzzlingly, the car that tops the list of least stolen vehicles is also a midsize luxury sedan, the two-wheel-drive BMW 3 series. It had just one claim for whole-vehicle theft in 104,901 insured vehicle years. An insured vehicle year is one vehicle insured for one year.
Two of the vehicles on the least-stolen list are the Tesla Model S and Model X. Their low theft rate may be related to the fact that, as electric vehicles, they are usually parked in garages or close to a house to be near a power supply. In a separate report last year, HLDI showed that electric vehicles from a variety of manufacturers have lower theft claim rates than comparable vehicles.
Absent from the most-stolen list is any version of the Cadillac Escalade, which previously dominated HLDI’s rankings of vehicles popular with thieves. Part of the reason is that the large luxury SUV now has more competition in that category, including from the Infiniti QX80 and the Land Rover Range Rover, vehicles that are now among the most stolen.
Escalade owners are also likely benefiting from enhanced security features that go beyond the ignition immobilizers that most of today’s vehicles have in order to prevent them from being started without a proper key. Standard immobilizers weren’t enough to prevent the Escalade from being frequently stolen, so Cadillac added more antitheft features beginning with the 2015 model year. They include glass breakage sensors, motion detectors and an inclination sensor that triggers an alarm if someone tries to take the wheels off, tow the vehicle or lift it onto a flatbed truck.
“The models most likely to be stolen tend to be powerful, pricey or pickups, but vehicle theft is also a crime of opportunity,” says HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore. “Better security features on all vehicles would be the best way to address the problem.”
By looking at claims per insured vehicle year, HLDI’s theft reports allow people to compare the relative risk of each vehicle. In contrast, other most-stolen-vehicle lists report raw numbers of thefts and are therefore dominated by the most common vehicles on the road.
HLDI’s whole-vehicle theft report differs from its standard theft report, which looks at all theft claims, including those for stolen vehicle parts or for items taken from a vehicle.
To isolate whole-vehicle claims, HLDI looked at the amounts paid for total losses under collision coverage, which is generally the residual value of the vehicle. If the payment associated with a theft claim is around the same as would be expected for a total loss under collision coverage for the same vehicle of the same age, it is considered to be a whole-vehicle theft claim.
As with all HLDI analyses, the results in the whole-vehicle theft report are adjusted to account for the effect of demographic and geographic factors.
Vehicles with the highest claim frequencies for whole-vehicle theft
2016-18 model years
|Vehicle size/type||Relative claim frequency (100 = average)|
|Dodge Charger HEMI||Large 4-door car||544|
|Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat||Large 2-door car||529|
|Infiniti Q50 4-door||Midsize luxury car||525|
|Infiniti QX80||Large luxury SUV||422|
|GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab||Large 4-door pickup||393|
|Dodge Challenger||Large 2-door car||358|
|Nissan Maxima||Midsize 4-door car||351|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab||Large 4-door pickup||320|
|Chrysler 300 4WD||Large 4-door car||293|
|Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4-door long-wheelbase 4WD||Very large luxury car||291|
|Dodge Charger 4WD||Large 4-door car||274|
|Dodge Durango 4WD||Large SUV||271|
|Land Rover Range Rover||Large luxury SUV||271|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab 4WD||Large 4-door pickup||269|
|Dodge Charger||Large 4-door car||266|
|Nissan Titan crew cab short bed||Large 4-door pickup||250|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||Large 4-door pickup||248|
|GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab 4WD||Large 4-door pickup||241|
|Audi A7 4WD||Large luxury car||239|
|Infiniti QX80 4WD||Large luxury SUV||236|
Vehicles with the lowest claim frequencies for whole-vehicle theft
2016-18 model years
|Vehicle size/type||Relative claim frequency (100 = average)|
|BMW 3-series 4-door||Midsize luxury car||4|
|Tesla Model S 4WD||Large luxury car||11|
|Tesla Model X 4WD||Large luxury SUV||12|
|Chevrolet Equinox 4WD||Small SUV||15|
|Buick Encore 4WD||Small luxury SUV||15|
|Subaru Legacy with EyeSight||Midsize 4-door car||17|
|GMC Acadia||Midsize SUV||19|
|Subaru Forester with EyeSight||Small SUV||20|
|GMC Acadia 4WD||Midsize SUV||20|
|Volkswagen New Beetle||Small 2-door car||21|
|BMW 3 series 4-door 4WD||Midsize luxury car||21|
|Subaru Outback with EyeSight||Midsize station wagon||22|
|BMW X5||Midsize luxury SUV||22|
|Subaru Crosstrek||Small station wagon||25|
|Chevrolet Traverse||Midsize SUV||26|
|Subaru Crosstrek with EyeSight||Small station wagon||26|
|Lexus RX 450h 4WD||Midsize luxury SUV||28|
|Mazda MX-5 Miata||Mini sports car||30|
|Cadillac XT5||Midsize luxury SUV||30|