(The Car Connection) — American muscle cars continue to draw eyes, and not just on the collector car circuit. Thieves also prize the V-8 rumble, specifically of the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, which is the most stolen car in the U.S. relative to how many are on the road, according to a study released Thursday by the Highway Loss Data Institute.
The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and Dodge Charger Hemi once again topped the list, and thefts of the SRT Hellcat were 60 times more frequent than the average for 2020-2022 model year vehicles. The second most stolen vehicle, the Charger Hemi, was stolen at a rate of 20 times the industry average. Expect those rates to go down in future years as Dodge ceases production of the Charger at the end of the year.
For every 1,000 insured 2020-2022 Charger SRT Hellcats, 25 were stolen to a total of 6,128 newer Charger SRT Hellcats stolen. That’s up from 18 per 1,000 from the 2019-2021 model years, and way higher than the most stolen car from the 2017-2019 model years: there were only two thefts out of 1,000 insured Infiniti Q60s. It marks a troubling trend in the eyes of the HLDI.
“If you own a Hellcat, you better check your driveway,” HLDI senior vice president Matt Moore said in a statement. “These numbers are unbelievable.”
Charger and Challenger muscle cars have been in the top five most stolen cars since 2011, but the rate of vehicle thefts spiked during the pandemic and remains stubbornly high. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported more than 1 million cars stolen in 2022, an increase of 7% over 2021, and just shy of the record 1.05 million cars stolen in 2008.
Another troubling trend garnering nationwide news coverage has been the spike in stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles. In part due to viral videos on YouTube and TikTok that show how easy it is to hotwire Hyundai/Kia vehicles with traditional turn-key ignitions instead of pushbutton starts; 2015-2019 model years of those makes are twice as likely to get stolen as from all other automakers. Class action lawsuits and settlements have risen in the wake of the nationwide crime spree.
An affiliate of the IIHS, the insurance-industry-funded HLDI analyzed whole vehicle thefts for model years 2020-2022, as opposed to vehicle models from any model year, such as the annual Hot Wheels report by the NICB. Last month, the NICB reported that the highest theft rate of any segment was full-size pickup trucks, which accounted for 25% of all cars stolen in 2022.
Pickup trucks are the bestselling vehicles in the U.S. so the volume makes sense, and the model year most often stolen were older models, such as the 2004 Chevrolet Silverado (most stolen) and 2006 Ford F-150 (second most stolen).
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Luxury cars remain popular among thieves, as well, with Land Rover, Infiniti, and BMW models cracking the HLDI’s top 10. On a positive note, Tesla models had the lowest rate of thefts relative to their insured rates. Both the Model 3 and Model Y were the least stolen cars, with just three claims per every 1,000 insured of the 2020-2022 model years.