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Top 20 stolen cars

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    The 1992 Holden Commodore tops the list of most-stolen cars.

Which cars are stolen most and why?

SEVENTEEN of the top 20 cars stolen in Australia in the past year are early model Holden Commodores that can be started with a dipstick. The other three cars in the top 20 are the 1997 and '98 Hyundai Excel (eighth and 17th) and the 1991 Toyota Camry (20th), according to National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction figures.

Executive director Ray Carroll says Commodores are over-represented because there are so many on the road and the early models lack adequate security. ``In some of the early models you only need a key vaguely of the same make and model; the locks are so worn anything with a similar profile will start them. Some even start with a dipstick,'' he says.

``Holden introduced immobilisers to Commodores in 2001 but the early versions were pretty poor quality in terms of effectiveness.'' The Commodore has been Australia's most popular-selling car for more than 10 years and the models which top the theft council's ``most-stolen'' list range from 1989 to 2003. Most stolen is the 1992 Commodore with 393 going missing in the past year.

Of these, 332 are short-term thefts for joyriding, vandalism, transport or to commit a crime while the other 61 are classed as ``profit-motivated thefts'' where the cars are ``rebirthed'' and sold, usually interstate, or broken up and sold as parts. Carroll says V8 and six-cylinder Commodores are an attractive target for joyriders because they are ``good for doing wheelies and donuts''.

They are also targeted by thieves for their value as parts on the black market, he says. Theft council figures show car thefts have plummeted 65 per cent in the past 10 years from a peak of 129,923 in 2000-01 to 53,588 last financial year. ``There is a lot of speculation about the reasons for this trend,'' Carroll says. ``One is that the fleet is becoming more immobilised, but there are still something like five million unsecured non-immobilised cars in the country.

``Also, as the theft rate comes down, there are less offenders doing it which means police can concentrate on more intelligence-led policing of high-rate offenders. ``There is a small number of offenders committing a large percentage of car theft, so police can have a big impact on theft rates if they take these criminals out of action.'' Carroll says another major contributing factor to the drop in car theft is the increasing vigilance of motorists.

``When we started 10 years ago the typical old-fashioned statement was `no one would ever want to steal my old bomb','' he says. ``There has been a lot of work done by us, the police and others to educate people that it's the older cars - or bombs - that get stolen the most. ``People are more security conscious now.''


1992 Commodore 393
1990 Commodore 343
1991 Commodore 330
1998 Commodore 323
1989 Commodore 319
1995 Commodore 295
1999 Commodore 294
1997 Hyundai Excel 282
1997 Commodore 282
1996 Commodore 275
2000 Commodore 266
2002 Commodore 261
1993 Commodore 257
1987 Commodore 245
1994 Commodore 240
2001 Commodore 229
1998 Hyundai Excel 229
2003 Commodore 220
1986 Commodore 219
1991 Toyota Camry 215
(2010-11 National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council)


Fin Year     Short term    For profit
2000/01      114,766          15,157
2005/06       55,995           12,231
2010/11       34,155           11,659


Fin Year     Short term    For profit
2000/01        2295              3863
2005/06        2392              4263
2010/11        3036              4738

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 23 comments

  • does the colour of the car have anything to do with theft rates?

    Stephen R Smith of melbourne Posted on 24 September 2013 9:13pm

    Anonymous of Unknown Posted on 20 December 2012 10:47pm
  • Any car with worn locks is easy to steal, some will just open if anything keylike is inserted into them. But then again its quite easy to pop door locks any way, immobiliser's are your best bet, but someone determined will still haul your car away. Most new cars seem to be stolen by carjacking and theft of keys from the house, both on the rise in crime statistics.

    Ollygt of Brisbane Posted on 13 April 2012 1:37pm
  • We get ADR's for seatbelts, pollution and a myriad of other devices but seems the basic things like adequate locks is sadly overlooked by these zealots. Holden should have been made to do a recall and replace the locks with something effective just as they would have had it been a Toyota or Honda with a safety device suspected of being faulty. Moral here is if you want to keep your wheels safe, buy a FORD! (That'll get this forum refocussed).

    Gordon Wadsworth of Gretna Posted on 14 December 2011 7:59am
  • Well the guys that stole my dad's Prado didn't use a dipstick. They were quite sophisticated and incredibly meticulous in their planning.

    Matt Hayward of Melbourne Posted on 18 November 2011 2:56pm
  • What a burnout machine, I just want one!!

    Neal of Cairns Posted on 18 November 2011 2:55pm
  • Australia's number 1 car. People want one - any way they can get them. Why are people making jokes about this? Car theft is very serious, these are family transport or someones first car.

    Dave S Posted on 18 November 2011 2:18pm
  • If I had a dirty blue VP I'd park it on the footpath with the window down, a full tank & the key in the ignition!

    I've got an opinion on everything of Richmond VIC Posted on 16 November 2011 10:21pm
  • I've got a 500sl M/benz if you can steal it you can have it.

    old bloke of Gold coast Posted on 16 November 2011 6:57pm
  • The Commodore in the photo says it all. That would have to be the boganist of bogan mobiles I've ever seen. Good colour match on the bumpers as well I might add. Actually they might be of the other Commodore they stole for the parts.

    Bandido of Melb Posted on 16 November 2011 6:51pm
  • I have been unlucky enough to have Falconn, Commodore and Fiat stolen. I say linch the scum as soon as they catch them.

    Ross Whitby of Australia Posted on 16 November 2011 6:00pm
  • "Commodores are better than Falcons that's why there are being stolen" Says it all really.

    Boganator Posted on 16 November 2011 12:28pm
  • They used to shoot horse thieves.....because after a home it is most peoples biggest asset and need. All I can see from these figures is 53,588 lynchings in waiting.

    Sinbad Ryan of Hobart Posted on 15 November 2011 8:37pm
  • The 20 year old Commodore is the aspirational vehicle of choice for those with the joyride mentality. What else can one say about it?

    Mike W of Sydney Posted on 15 November 2011 9:59am
  • Commodores are better than Falcons that's why there are being stolen.

    mike nolife of behind your bed Posted on 14 November 2011 4:42pm
  • Goes to show how well engineered 'Bogandores' were in those days.

    Bob of Mt Druitt Posted on 12 November 2011 11:28am
  • But why no Falcon on this list? They are virtually as common as the Commodore. Are car thieves Ford-haters? And the Hyundai and Camry. Why, oh why, would you bother?

    Foresooth of Canberra Posted on 12 November 2011 9:25am
  • Old Commodores appeal to the under-achieving (poor, low IQ) demographic. That's a reason many people are shying off Commodores now, even new ones ... it's the stigma attached to them.

    DrSteve of innerwest Posted on 11 November 2011 10:31pm
  • Here I must agree with Adam of Tas - After being viciously abused by a "thing" driving a VT Commodore - just short of being punched in the face, in full daylight, in a busy supermarket carpark. Flog 'em as much as you can please!

    herbert Posted on 11 November 2011 1:22pm
  • Sure there may or may not be immobilizers, who cares? The people that don't care are the Commodore drivers who never lock their cars. The Commodore is the wagon of the bogan. Most of them would rather shake their fist and threaten abuse rather than actually locking their vehicles. Keep stealing them I say!

    Adam of Tas Posted on 11 November 2011 9:29am
  • To expand on what Mick has said, both Holden and Ford introduced immobilisers as standard in 1992 onto the Falcon and Commodore. Immobilisers have been mandatory since July 2001 according to an article I read, though I thought it was from July 2000 but that may have been NSW only.

    elephino Posted on 10 November 2011 5:27pm
  • Mick, typical reporting by Cars Guide. Happens all the time. Surprised they ran this article, they are all pro-holden down there!

    Glove of Morwell Posted on 10 November 2011 3:12pm
  • "Holden introduced immobilizers in 2001".....Hmmm thats funny since my 1993 commodore that I owned years ago had a factory fitted alarm and immobilizer. My partners 91 commodore (no immobilizer) was stolen and wound up trashed with a shredded rear tyre and the insurance assessor showed me how the thief snaps off the ignition barrel and starts the car with the heater switch.... far too easy and can be done in seconds.

    Mick of Melb Posted on 10 November 2011 10:35am
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