New data has revealed the most commonly stolen cars in Britain, with everything from family hatchbacks to luxury SUVs among the list of models targeted by thieves.
Figures revealed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) under a freedom of information request show that the country’s long-term best-seller is also the most commonly snatched car, with more than 5,700 Ford Fiestas stolen in the last 12 months. The compact hatchback, which is soon to be discontinued, is the most common model in the country, perhaps explaining why it’s also the most stolen.
However, in second place is the far less common and far more desirable Range Rover. Land Rover’s most luxurious and expensive model is a popular target for crooks, with just over 5,200 examples reported as stolen between 1 November 2021 and 28 October 2022.
The DVLA data, obtained by Rivervale Leasing, revealed that over the last 12 months 58,082 vehicles were recorded as stolen - an average of 159 vehicles per day. That represents an 18% increase on the previous year but is still lower than figures for 2019-20, when 74,769 cars were stolen.
While thieves still target older cars, modern vehicles with keyless entry systems are seen as particularly vulnerable to high-tech crooks using relay attacks. One tracking firm reported that in 2021 94% of cars it recovered had been stolen via relay attack. Vince Pemberton, CEO and automotive expert at Rivervale commented: “Keyless car theft known as relay theft is becoming increasingly common. It’s hard to prevent but you can help reduce your chances of being a victim by storing your keys in a pouch or box designed to block the signal. A steering lock and additional car alarm can also help to stop thieves from accessing and stealing your car.”
The Rivervale analysis also looked at the models with the highest chance of being stolen based on the number of thefts per 10,000 examples on the road. It found that only two Vauxhall models dropped off the most numerous theft list to be replaced by the Ford Kuga and Audi A4.
Here are the 10 most commonly stolen cars in Britain in 2022
Ford Fiesta - 5,724 stolen (41 thefts per 10,000 cars)
Britain’s most commonly bought car is also clearly popular with thieves, perhaps because there are so many around. The DVLA figures also show that it was the most targeted, for the second year in a row, with the number of thefts jumping by 46% between 2021 and 2022.
Land Rover Range Rover - 5,209 (38 per 10,000)
The attraction of a Range Rover is easy to see, especially when crooks can either strip them for expensive parts or mask their identity and sell these luxury landbarges overseas for a tidy sum.
Ford Focus - 2,048 (21 per 10,000)
The Focus is the second most common car on the country’s roads, so it’s no surprise that plenty are stolen every year, especially with performance models like the ST and RS around.
Volkswagen Golf - 1,959 (22 per 10,000)
VW’s family hatchback is almost as popular with criminals as its long-term rival the Focus. Whether it’s the appeal of high-end models like the GTI and Golf R or more mainstream examples isn’t clear but there is clearly a demand among thieves for Wolfsburg’s finest.
Land Rover Discovery - 1,778 (77 per 10,000)
The Discovery has a reputation for being unreliable but that clearly hasn’t stopped thieves targeting this high-end SUV. Not only does it count among the highest number of total thefts but it’s also the most likely model of all to be stolen, based on thefts per 10,000 examples.
Vauxhall Corsa - 1,268 (13 per 10,000)
The long-term rival to the Fiesta is the third most common car in the country but thefts per 10,000 show it’s less popular with thieves. Not that that is any consolation to the 1,268 people whose Corsas were stolen in the last year.
Vauxhall Astra - 1,215 (18 per 10,000)
The official figures show that there were a handful fewer examples of Vauxhall’s family hatchback stolen compared with the smaller Corsa. However, there were still an average of three Astra thefts every single day between November 2021 and October 2022, leaving more than 1,200 owners counting the cost and hoping for a fair deal from their insurer.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 981 (27 per 10,000)
According to the DVLA data, an average of 18 Mercedes-Benz C-Classes are stolen each week around Britain making it the most stolen model from Germany’s famous “big three” premium brands. It’s also among the models with the most thefts per 10,000 on the road, so clearly its appeal is as strong among criminals as it is among honest buyers.
Audi A3 - 805 (19 per 10,000)
The A3 is essentially a more upmarket VW Golf. Sharing the same qualities and appeal as the VW with the added prestige of the Audi badge, it’s perhaps unsurprising that this hatchback is a popular target.
Ford EcoSport - 656 (63 per 10,000)
The EcoSport seems a strange choice for thieves but is actually second only to the Land Rover Discovery in terms of thefts per 10,000 cars. With just 104,000 registered, the 656 thefts in the last year represents a relatively substantial proportion of this little-loved crossover.