The Toyota Camry was stolen more than any other make, possibly because there were so many to be stolen. About 448,000 Camrys were manufactured in 2009, and of those, 781 were stolen, at a rate of 1.74 per thousand cars produced. Luxury cars are produced in much lower runs than standard models, so far fewer units are stolen every year. But they’re attractive to thieves nonetheless.
According to Karl Brauer, CEO of the online car review aggregator TotalCarScore.com, luxury cars are normally stolen for two reasons. “Luxury and premium models, such as those in this list, are typically stolen by professional car thieves for export, where they can fetch a premium over their domestic value,” he said in an e-mail. “If they're not exported, then many are parted-out for sale on the black market.”
So what defines a luxury car? Three simple criteria, according to Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for the automotive information resource Kelley Blue Book. A luxury car is produced by a traditional luxury manufacturer, such as Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz; it retails for no less than $45,000; and it offers a smooth ride, even on bumpy roads.
Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, CNBC.com assembled a list of the most frequently stolen luxury cars in the U.S. Cars are ranked according to thefts per thousand cars produced. Also included are the insights of Brauer, who gave CNBC.com his take on why the cars on this list present irresistible opportunities for thieves, and represent painful losses to their owners.
Read ahead to see which are the most stolen luxury cars in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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8. Volvo V70
Theft rate: 3.01 per thousand
The Volvo V70 is a mid-size station wagon introduced in 1997. Three were stolen in 2009 from its production run of 996 units.
“It's surprising to us the Volvo V70 made the list,” Brauer said. “It's among the lowest scoring models in the luxury wagon segment, but we are mindful that when it comes to Volvos, there is a very loyal customer-base. Not to mention, wagons have a cult-like following. Combining these two elements results in a desirable vehicle for consumers, creating a high enough demand to land this vehicle on the most stolen list.”