March 3, 1998 in Nation/World

Hondas Most Popular With U.S. Auto Thieves 1989 Toyota Camry Leads List Of Most Stolen Cars

Associated Press

Thieves have a thing for Honda.

While the 1989 Toyota Camry led the list of 1997’s most stolen cars, more than half of the 25 most pilfered vehicles were made by Honda.

“I guess it’s something we’ve gotten used to,” said Andy Boyd, spokesman for Honda Motor Co. “It’s the price we pay for having one of the best selling cars in the market.”

Only five U.S. nameplates appeared on the list of the top 25, CCC Information Services Inc. said Monday. The company tracks reports on auto thefts for the insurance industry.

“This year’s study reflects the growing popularity of foreign cars not only among consumers but also among car thieves,” said Jack Rozint, senior vice president of Chicago-based CCC.

The Honda Accord dominated the most stolen list with 12 models. The 1994 EX finished second, the 1995 EX was fourth, the 1988 LX was sixth, the 1990 EX placed seventh and the 1992 EX ws ninth. Honda’s 1991 Acura Legend came in 14th.

The 1994 Honda Accord EX, the 1988 Honda Accord LX, and the 1992 Honda Accord LX ranked 1-2-3 in the list of most stolen cars for 1996.

“I think over the years we’ve done a great deal to improve the security to make it more difficult for the car thieves,” Boyd said. “As we evolve so do the thieves. It’s almost impossible to make a car theft-proof.”

Toyota had seven cars among the 1997 top 25 - six Camrys and a Corolla.

Toyota spokesman John McCandless questioned the validity of the figures because of vehicles not listed among the most stolen - including hot-selling sport utility vehicles and the Ford Taurus.

Still, the report does say something positive about the durability of Toyotas, he said.

“It’s kind of flattering to have ‘88, ‘89, ‘90 models on the most stolen list,” McCandless said. “A 10-year-old car must be worth something.”

The driving force behind car thefts is the need for replacement parts, Rozint said. That sends some customers to the lower-cost black market.

“It’s a case of supply and demand,” he said. “The increasing popularity of a car with consumers means there are more of that particular model on the road and, in turn, a higher demand for parts. This increased demand on the black market drives which vehicles thieves target.”

One pickup truck cracked last year’s top 25 - the 1997 Ford F150 4x2 at No. 23 - CCC said.

At No. 10, the 1995 Ford Mustang was the only Big Three nameplate among the top 10. The only other Big Three models on the list were three General Motors Corp. cars - the 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme at No. 15, the 1989 Chevrolet Caprice at No. 17 and the 1987 Chevrolet Caprice at No. 21.

CCC tracked more than 100,000 thefts last year, as well as crash and other damage claims. It said thefts account for most of the nation’s vehicle insurance claims. Thefts of the most-stolen 1989 Toyota Camry totaled 465, or 0.4 percent of the total.

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