The Range Rover Sport was the most stolen car in the UK in 2021, according to figures from two leading vehicle tracking companies.
The high-end SUV was among six models from British brand Land Rover to make it into the top 10 “shopping list” for thieves, topping the table for the third year in a row.
The lists of vehicles reported stolen to tracking firms Global Telemetrics and Tracker are dominated by premium SUVs, with high-value, high-prestige models from BMW, Mercedes and Audi also targeted by crooks.
The two tracking firms released separate data based on the cases they handled but returned very similar results.
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The Range Rover Sport was the most targeted vehicle, followed by its larger sibling the Range Rover in either Vogue or Autobiography spec. The smaller Velar and Evoque models were also among the 10 most stolen models, alongside the Land Rover Defender and Discovery.
Away from the British brand, the BMW X5 and X6 featured on the top 10 lists from both firms, while the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GL and GLC were among other SUVs in the Tracker top 10.
Work vehicles were also a common target, according to Global Telemetrics, which included the Ford Transit and Fiat Ducato vans in its top 10.
Keyless entry systems have been blamed for many of the thefts, with Tracker reporting that 94% of the cars it recovered in 2021 had been taken without the key.
Gavin Hennessy, operations manager at Global Telemetrics, said: “Sadly certain aspects of vehicle theft will always be inevitable, especially for those drivers of highly desirable cars, vans and bikes.
“Whether stolen to order, accessed via keyless entry, as a result of a burglary or even by opportunistic thieves, car theft remains a truth that all vehicle owners should be aware of. In 2021 alone, Global Telemetrics helped to recover over £23milion of stolen vehicles – that’s £10million more than in 2020.”
Tracker’s head of police liaison, Clive Wain, said that the pandemic had helped increase demand for stolen cars and parts.
He commented: “Due to the pandemic, global demand for car parts created a boom in ‘chop-shops’ - buildings which house stolen vehicles for stripping down so their expensive parts can be sold on. In addition, the lack of parts for new car manufacturing resulted in a surge of sales in the second-hand car market, creating a lucrative business for car thieves to fill the shortage.
“Prestige models have always been the go-to for criminals who exploit the demand for these desirable cars in territories like Europe, Middle East and Africa. We are continuously intercepting shipping containers packed with stolen vehicles at ports around the country and 2021 was no different. However, due to the pandemic lower value cars have also seen an increase in theft rates.”