By Jim Hagerty
The Cadillac Escalade is now the most stolen vehicle in the United States, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. According to insurance claim data collected by a variety of agencies, the luxury SUV from model years 2007 to 2009 are especially vulnerable to thieves.
The Escalade surpassed a slew of other high-end cars and trucks also frequently lifted from the U.S. streets. The beefy Dodge Charger, Infiniti G37 and Ford F-250 remain popular in black market chop shops. Officials said the three models, and the Escalade, are three to five times more likely to be stolen than other cars and trucks.
Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, said conservative and trendy fuel-efficient vehicles are relatively safe.
“Thieves are after chrome, horsepower and HEMIs,” Hazelbaker said.
As for the Escalade and the Charger, there’s plenty horsepower and chrome to go around. The Escalade EXT four-wheel drive sedan has been a hot item for thieves for more than five years with its flashy wheel options and more bells and whistles than some dwellings. The Charger has been a marvel of modern muscle since 2006, packing up to 425 horsepower and a variety of trim packages.
According to stats, large SUVs and select high-performance cars have the highest theft rates, sending insurance companies digging deep to cover losses.
Cars most unlikely to be stolen are the Toyota Prius, Nissan Murano, Saturn VUE and select Volvo models.
From the Aug. 11-17, 2010 issue