Com­modore’s van­ish­ing act

Thieves go retro, write KEVIN HEP­WORTH and CRAIG DUFF VIC­TO­RIA’S MOST STOLEN CARS

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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