The 10 most stolen cars

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The National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB, has released its latest report on the 10 most-stolen cars in the U.S. and notes that criminals are getting more sophisticated when they steal cars, putting newer cars at higher risk.

Car thefts were more common in cars from the 1996 model year and earlier simply because they were easy targets. In 1997, the auto industry began adding key-code technology in so-called smart keys, rendering them harder to steal without a duplicate key. For 2011, six of the cars on the 10 most-stolen vehicle list are from the 1997 model year or later.

Car thefts have not been this low since 1967, which is great news for auto insurance premiums. But the NICB is seeing thefts of late-model cars — those with the key-code technology — on the rise. Recent research by the NICB noted that there were nearly 300 cars stolen in the first three months of 2012 by professional criminals who falsified paperwork or had an accomplice at a dealership or locksmith to help get replacement keys with the proper key codes for cars they wanted to steal.

For 2011, the NICB’s most-stolen vehicles in the nation were:

  1. 1994 Honda Accord.
  2. 1998 Honda Civic.
  3. 2006 Ford Pickup (full size).
  4. 1991 Toyota Camry.
  5. 2000 Dodge Caravan.
  6. 1994 Acura Integra.
  7. 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (full size).
  8. 2004 Dodge Pickup (full size).
  9. 2002 Ford Explorer.
  10. 1994 Nissan Sentra.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.