Ford Fiesta thefts increased to 53% in 2022, according to government data shared exclusively with This is Money. Britain’s most popular car is also the most stolen.
According to DVLA statistics, 5,979 Fiestas were reported stolen in 2022, compared to 3,909 in 2021. It indicates that, on average, one was stolen every 88 minutes.
Given that there are over 1.5 million Fiestas registered on the road, its ranking as the most stolen vehicle in Britain is not really surprising. But, since Ford indicated last year that it will stop producing them, which would result in an increase in the price of Fiesta parts, experts have cautioned that they may be at higher risk.
The fact that Range Rovers came in second place in terms of number of stolen vehicles last year suggests that thieves are continuing to target high-value vehicles, according to these latest statistics.
In fact, compared to the prior year, there was a 47 per cent increase in the theft of high-end SUVs from their legitimate owners in 2022, and the number of Land Rover Discovery thefts also increased by more than 50 per cent.
The most stolen cars in the UK
2021 2022 % change 1. Ford Fiesta 3,909 5,979 Up 53.0% 2. Land Rover Range Rover 3,754 5,533 Up 47.4% 3. Ford Focus 1,912 2,186 Up 14.3% 4. VW Golf 1,755 2,036 Up 16.0% 5. Land Rover Discovery 1,260 1,920 Up 52.4% 6. BMW 3 Series 1,464 1,454 Down -0.7% 7. Mercedes C Class 1,474 1,378 Down -6.5% 8. Vauxhall Corse 1,218 1,280 Up 5.1% 9. Vauxhall Astra 1,096 1,240 Up 13.1% 10. Mercedes E Class 818 866 Up 5.9%
The official vehicle theft statistics were provided by the DVLA to LeaseLoco, a website that compares car leases, and they exclusively offered this information to This Is Money.
The DVLA received reports of 61,106 stolen cars in total in 2022 compared to 48,493 in 2021, a 26 per cent increase. These cars were of all makes and models.
It means that somewhere in the UK last year, a car was stolen from its owner every eight and a half minutes.
According to the report, there were 12,613 more cars stolen in 2018 than there were in 2021 (48,493) and 2,464 more than there were in 2019 (58,642), before the pandemic.
About 10% of the 61,106 motors stolen in 2022 were Fiestas.
On DVLA records, there are 5,979 Fiestas recorded as stolen, which is 53% more than the year before. This is the biggest year-over-year increase among the top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles.
Many may argue that the fact that there are more Fiestas than any other model available to thieves is the primary cause of this, although experts did warn last year that the modest Ford could become more frequently targeted now that production is about to cease.
Ford shocked the world by announcing on October 26th, 2022, that it would stop producing the Fiesta in June 2023 in favor of a brand-new electric vehicle.
After the confirmation, used Fiesta prices increased almost immediately as owners tried to capitalize on the news.
But, auto security experts have cautioned that Ford’s move to stop production would ultimately lead to a rise in demand for used parts and, consequently, a rise in thefts.
Owners of Fiestas were warned by the British company Tracker to be “on their guard” since their vehicles might turn out to be a popular target for thieves in the months and years to come. Tracker offers tracking systems to help find vehicles if they are stolen.
Clive Wain, Tracker’s head of police liaison, said: “It is common for any vehicle to become in high demand when supply stops, and the price of parts will slowly start to increase.
“The end of the Fiesta doesn’t just signal the end of one of the most popular cars in the UK, but an even greater theft risk for those cars that are currently on the road.
“Over the last few years, we’ve already seen that a global lack of good quality used vehicles, alongside spare parts shortages, are increasing the desirability of older, lower value cars like the Fiesta.
“Vehicles are often stolen and stripped for their parts in chop shops or stolen to order to be shipped abroad to meet international demand.”
Commenting on the DVLA data, LeaseLoco’s chief executive John Wilmot said: “The Ford Fiesta has retained its unenviable title as the most stolen car in Britain, with our research revealing that a Fiesta was stolen every 87 minutes somewhere in the UK last year.
“However, it is likely to be the last year it tops the table, as Ford recently announced that it will be discontinuing the Fiesta in June, 47 years after the first model rolled off the production line.”
Similar to last year, the Range Rover came in second place on the list for the most car thefts, trailing only the Fiesta.
A staggering 5,533 vehicles were reported stolen to the DVLA, up from 3,754 in 2021, representing a 47.4 per cent year-over-year rise.
Even while there are currently over 400,000 of the pricey SUVs on the road, they aren’t among the top ten models registered in the UK, and their number is less than one-third that of Fiestas.
However more were taken than the far more prevalently registered Ford Focus hatchback (2,186) and VW Golf (2,036).
The Land Rover Discovery ranked fifth in terms of stolen vehicles in 2022, with 1,920 thefts reported to police and the DVLA.
This represents a 52.4 per cent increase from the 1,260 vehicles stolen in 2021 and has a greater theft rate than far more well-known vehicles like the Corsa (1,280) and Astra from Vauxhall (1,240).
This suggests that professional thieves steal cars on demand based on their worth to others farther up the criminal chain.
Because thieves can employ hacking tools to compromise the keyless entry and keyless start systems that are frequently included in high-end vehicles, these pricey cars are more susceptible to “relay thefts.”
An investigation by the insurance company Direct Line last year discovered that most car thieves have a shopping list of vehicles they plan to steal, which often comprises of five or six models that the people running the black market want to target.
These are explicit demands for particular cars that they want to break down for parts or that are in high demand abroad, with costly SUVs frequently near the top of the list.
In exchange, thieves will often take a larger portion of a valuable car’s value, while they still only stand to profit at best by 5 per cent of the car’s actual value.
When compensated for their unlawful services, car thieves often only receive 1.25 percent of the vehicle’s market value, according to research by Direct Line.
“The luxury SUV continues to be a popular target for sophisticated criminal gangs who have the knowledge and keyless tech to quickly gain entry,” Mr Wilmot added.
“But our figures show that it isn’t just Range Rover thefts that are on the rise. There was an overall 26 per cent increase in car thefts last year.
“Car owners need to be aware that thefts are on the rise and to take the appropriate precautions to avoid becoming a victim.”
Several examples of expensive vehicles that are probably in high demand on the black market make up the remainder of the top 10 most frequently stolen cars.
This includes the BMW 3 Series, with 1,454 thefts down 0.7 per cent on 2021 records.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class rounded out the top 10, with 1,378 (down 6.5 per cent) and 866 (up 5.9 per cent) instances respectively.