Top 20 stolen cars

9 November 2011
, CarsGuide
Top 20 stolen cars
The 1992 Holden Commodore tops the list of most-stolen cars.

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