Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Insurance company reveals New Zealand’s most stolen cars

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Toyota’s Aqua model has been named the country’s most stolen vehicle for 2023. Times photo

East Auckland residents considering buying a Toyota Aqua car may want to think again.

AMI Insurance has named its list of the most stolen cars across the country for 2023 and the popular Aqua holds the unwanted title of the hottest target for car thieves for the second year running.

The insurance company says its new data reported almost 17,000 vehicle theft claims last year.

AMI executive general manager claims Wayne Tippet says the company recorded a 43 per cent spike in vehicle theft claims in 2022 and “unprecedented theft rates” are still sitting high as 2023 becomes the second highest year for vehicle thefts over the past five years.

“It’s concerning to see another year of elevated vehicle theft claims and, unfortunately, the data highlights that we all need to adopt a security-minded approach when leaving our cars unattended,” Tippet says.

“We are seeing a consistent similarity in the price of commonly stolen vehicles too, usually no more than $5000 in value.

“These seemingly cost-friendly cars are typically 10 years or older.”

Tippet says the claims data shows vehicles manufactured in 2005 take the spotlight for theft insurance claims, followed by 2006 and the equally popular, 2014.

The Mazda Demio, historically regarded as car thieves’ top pick, is slipping from the ranks as the Nissan Tiida becomes New Zealand’s second most stolen car and the Toyota Corolla third.

The Corolla has made a significant climb from the country’s eighth most stolen car in 2022 to third in 2023.

Auckland continues to see the most vehicle thefts with over a third of those reported nationwide, followed by Canterbury at 17 per cent and Waikato at 12 per cent.

A relative of a Times¬†staff member joined the growing ranks of the country’s car theft victims when her beloved Mazda Demio hatchback was stolen just metres from the Chinatown complex in Burswood on June 30 last year.

The Dannemora senior citizen had gone to Chinatown for lunch with a friend to celebrate her birthday.

When they returned to the car park they found her Mazda gone.

The theft was reported to police and an insurance claim filed.

Thanks to a social media post, the vehicle was found later the same day dumped in a street in Farm Cove.

Its ignition barrel had been damaged and rubbish including food and clothing was left strewn throughout its interior. The car was written-off.

Tippet says comparing AMI’s year-to-year data, the new car theft claims indicate thieves are still looking for quick takes.

“Cars without advanced security features such as keyless ignitions, immobilisers, or alarms, or are parked where a swift getaway is possible, have a higher risk of being stolen.”

AMI data also shows vehicle theft rates peak between 10pm and 5am, with theft increasing after dark.

“Those who can, should always park their cars in the driveway, lock the gate if they have one, or opt for a well-lit area if on-street parking is the only option.

“Steering locks still remain a cost-friendly security measure and effective deterrent for thieves.”

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