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Crime Trends

The Top 10 Most Stolen and Recovered Cars in 2018

The Tracker 2018 league table of the Top 10 Most Stolen and Recovered Vehicles, reveals that the BMW X5 is back in the top spot, up from number two in 2017; it has claimed this spot eight times over the last 9 years.  The Mercedes-Benz C Class took pole position in 2017 but has swapped places with the BMW X5, moving down to second place in 2018.

Analysis of 2018 theft activity by Tracker supports reports that the threat of keyless car theft is increasing – including relay attacks.  Tracker data reveals that 88% of stolen vehicles fitted with one of its devices, which were successfully recovered in 2018, were stolen without using the owner’s keys. An increase from 80% stolen by this method in 2017, but a more significant and worrying increase of 22% compared with 2016 (66%).

For the top stolen and recovered vehicles from 2019, click here.


What were the most stolen car brands in 2018?

In 2018, prestige brands reigned supreme, with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover and Range Rover models stealing all 10 places; Mercedes-Benz took a record four of the top 10 spots. The BMW 3 Series has moved from fifth to third place in the last 12 months, pushing the Range Rover Sport down from third in 2017 to eighth. The Range Rover Vogue makes a reappearance, after dropping off the top 10 in 2017, confirming that it’s back on the shopping list for car thieves. In contrast, the Land Rover Discovery was a new entry last year and hangs on in seventh place in 2018.

Whilst the VW Golf claimed second place as the UK’s best-selling car in 2018*, it disappeared from Tracker’s most stolen and recovered table last year.  Despite its popularity, it has only appeared in the Tracker league table three times since 2009, first appearing in 2010.  Audi also slipped off the Tracker Top Ten Most Stolen and Recovered ranking, with the Audi RS4 having taken tenth position in 2017.


What was the value of stolen and recovered cars in 2018?

Although prestige brands remain the top target for thieves, the average value of stolen and recovered cars in 2018 was £20,000.  The least expensive recovery was a Toyota Landcruiser worth just £1,000 with the most expensive being a Rolls Royce Ghost worth £120,000.

Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker, explains, “Organised criminal gangs make a living out of stealing to order or taking what they know will sell quickly, and it’s a thriving, albeit illegal, profession.  What’s more, these people have highly sophisticated skills, continually adapting their techniques to counter technology introduced by manufacturers to safeguard vehicles.

“Although premium models dominate the top 10, the opportunist thief will take any vehicle they can gain access to, so it’s vital that owners think about their vehicle security measures to make it harder for criminals.

“Thanks to our long-standing working relationship with all UK police forces, over 78 suspected thieves were arrested in connection with the vehicles we recovered. Not only that, but an additional 79 stolen vehicles were found alongside those vehicles recovered that were fitted with a Tracker unit.”


What were the most stolen and recovered car models in 2018?


Top Models Stolen & Recovered in 2018

  1. BMW X5
  2. Mercedes-Benz C Class
  3. BMW 3 Series
  4. Mercedes-Benz E Class
  5. BMW 5 Series
  6. Range Rover Vogue
  7. Land Rover Discovery
  8. Range Rover Sport
  9. Mercedes-Benz S Class
  10. Mercedes-Benz GLE

Top Models Stolen & Recovered in 2017

  • Mercedes-Benz C Class
  • BMW X5
  • Range Rover Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz E Class
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Land Rover Discovery
  • Range Rover Autobiography
  • BMW M3
  • VW Golf


How does Tracker assist in the recovery of stolen vehicles?

Tracker is the only stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) provider offering vehicle tracking systems that are supported nationwide by UK police forces. Tracker’s SVR solutions work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there. The combination of VHF with GPS/GSM technology, unique to Tracker, makes its units resistant to jamming, confirming Tracker as a superior security defence against determined thieves.