The most desirable car in the United States is a 19-year-old Honda Civic, at least according to the Hot Wheels report published annually by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). There were 5,290 units stolen in 2018.
The 2000 Civic remains a common part of the American landscape, it’s relatively basic compared to the 2019 model, and it’s low-key; even the sporty coupe isn’t the kind of car that attracts unwanted attention. These attributes boosted its popularity among car thieves. They loved the Civic in general, and they crowned it America’s most stolen nameplate in 2018 by illegally taking possession of 38,426 examples from all model years.
The bigger Accord joins the Civic on the podium in second place. There were 36,815 units stolen in 2018, including 5,029 examples made in the 1997 model year. Here again, it’s a fly-under-the-radar ride that’s reasonably simple because it’s not full of electronics, and that looks at home anywhere in America. The ubiquitous Ford F-Series rounded out the top three with 36,355 examples declared stolen, including more 2006 models (3,173 units) than any other year.
Unsurprisingly, the rest of the list includes many of America’s best-sellers; no one is interested in stealing something obscure like a 30-year old Alfa Romeo Milano. Chevrolet’s full-size Silverado pickup trails its Ford-badged rival in the fourth spot. It’s followed by the Toyota Camry, the Nissan Altima, the Toyota Corolla, the GMC Sierra, the Dodge/Ram 1500, and the Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee, which are oddly lumped into one model even though they’re two distinctly different SUVs. Thieves claimed 9,818 units of the two Jeep models in 2018.
While the most stolen cars in the United States are all older models, driving a newer car that’s more advanced isn’t necessarily a good way to fool thieves. 2017 examples of the Camry, the Altima, and the Corolla were declared stolen more often than those made in other years, while thieves on the prowl for a Sierra preferred the 2018 model.
All told, 748,841 cars were reported stolen in the United States in 2018. That’s a huge number, but the good news is that it represents a 3% decrease compared to 2017, and it’s significantly less than in 2004, when annual car thefts rose to 1,237,851. They hovered above the 1 million mark until 2008.