Commodore’s vanishing act
Thieves go retro, write KEVIN HEPWORTH and CRAIG DUFF VICTORIA’S MOST STOLEN CARS
EVEN car thieves prefer Commodores. Australia’s most popular family sedan has topped a list of the most stolen cars across the country.
An analysis of AAMI insurance claims shows early-model Holden Commodores comprise seven of the top 15 most stolen models in Victoria, and nine out of 15 on a national basis.
The 1999 VT Commodore Executive was the preferred target for thieves nationally — they stole 150 vehicles last year.
Victorian thieves prefer the 1999 AU Ford Falcon Forte, stealing 79 of them, ahead of 48 claims for the 1998 VT Commodore Berlina.
And parking in your own driveway or garage offers only marginally more protection than on the street.
Cars parked outside the owner’s house or on a nearby street represent 26 per cent of all thefts, just ahead 24 per cent stolen from the owner’s driveway, carport or garage.
AAMI corporate affairs manager Mike Sopinski says it isn’t surprising that 1990s makes and models feature so prominently on the list.
‘‘Vehicle theft has dropped remarkably in the past 10 years, primarily because of advances in technology and theft deterrents such as engine immobilisers,’’ he says.
Sopinski says the dominance of Commodores on the list has nothing to do with a particular lack of security on the Holden model.
‘‘If anything, they are a victim of their own popularity. Professional thieves seek to cash in on strong demand for spare parts,’’ he says.
The AAMI data mirrors figures collated by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, which reported three times as many Commodores as Falcons were stolen in the first three months of this year.
According to the council’s figures, 1767 Commodores were stolen compared with 507 Falcons and 288 Hyundai Excels. Though industry figures point to a 50 per cent reduction in car theft in the past five years, Sopinski says owners can take simple steps to make their cars less appealing to thieves.
‘‘Park in well-lit, visible places, always lock doors and windows, and keep personal items such as sunglasses, handbags and portable music devices hidden,’’ he says.
Favourite across the nation: Australia’s most stolen car is the VT Commodore Executive.