Find by category:

Exhaust Notes

Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series top most stolen luxury cars

Among luxury cars, the compact German models were favorites of thieves from 2009 to 2012.

By Clifford Atiyeh Jul 30, 2013 11:18AM
In some parts of the country, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series are as common as old Civics and Accords.

Car thieves must see them in exactly the same way, as the two compact German models have been the most stolen luxury cars in America, according to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The nonprofit group, which collects theft data for insurance companies, ranked the 1994 Honda Accord and 1998 Honda Civic as the most stolen car models in the country, spots these low-cost models take nearly every year.

Among the 4,384 luxury cars reported stolen from 2009 to 2012, 485 were late-model C-Class cars and an additional 471 were 3-Series. The Infiniti G wasn't far behind at 405 cars. The NICB looked at stolen vehicle reports with valid vehicle identification numbers (VINs) sent to insurance companies for model years 2010-2012.

Two other Mercedes models, the E-Class and S-Class, ranked fourth and last on the NICB's top 10 list of stolen luxury cars. The BMW 5-Series ranked sixth. Other big theft targets included the Cadillac CTS, Lincoln MKZ, Acura TSX and the Lexus IS. California racked up nearly a quarter of all thefts, followed by Florida, New York and New Jersey. But among metro areas, the New York, northern New Jersey and Long Island region recorded the highest number of luxury car thefts -- about 60 percent higher than the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana region -- and the most stolen cars that were never found.
Thieves won out on the Infiniti G, three Mercedes models (C-, E- and S-Class) and three BMW models (3-, 5- and 7-Series). Those cars had the highest rates of what the insurance industry classifies as "unrecovered thefts."

Nearly 20,000 late-model SUVs and crossovers were stolen in the United States from 2008 to the first half of 2012. Non-luxury brands such as the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Tahoe were the most stolen, according to the NICB. And despite New York and New Jersey getting a bad rap, another recent NICB study based on population and FBI reports showed that California and Washington have the highest per-capita auto theft rates in the country.

We'd say garage your vehicles and lock your doors, but in reality, if someone really wants your car, they're just going to take it.

[Source: NICB]
Jul 30, 2013 12:22PM
Could it be because there are so many 3-series and C-Class compared to the other luxury car models that causes them to be so high on the list?
Jul 30, 2013 1:10PM

I think I've seen a new article each week for the last few weeks that list a different car each time to be the top vehicle of choice for thieves. I think the last article was saying that the Ford F series trucks were beating out the used to be top of the stolen list's Escalade.


Let's face it.  It doesn't matter what type of car it is unless you're a crook running a black market business looking for certain parts for your customers.  Most thieves just see a car, know they want it, and take it or at least try to take it. 



Jul 30, 2013 3:15PM

Take my car ....Please!

    Not having a fat wallet leaves me out of any equation about wondering if my slick Benz or Bimmer is going to be heisted from the parking lot of some trendy store. I have a 14 year old sled, and virtually nothing at all works on it anymore, including three of the windows, the sunroof, A/C, ABS brakes, CD player and a holy host of other gadgets and attachments. Additionally, if it weren't for the 100 yards of duct tape on the seats, there wouldn't even be an interior. I've had dreams where I leave the car parked along a busy street, unlocked, with the keys in the ignition... hoping that some poor schlub would somehow steal this barge.... and then I wake up to the horrible reality that it's still in my driveway.


Peace to all ~

Jul 30, 2013 1:45PM

Simple solution? Just buy and learn to drive a car with a manual 6 speed transmission.

Most of the testosterone and adrenalin geniuses won't bother with them.


You'll have the time of your life mastering shifting gears at redline.

Of course when your insurance company downloads your cars computer Rev limit bump log they'll increase your premiums. Happy happy happy.

Jul 30, 2013 2:06PM
Most of these stolen luxury cars end up out of the USA.
Jul 30, 2013 4:02PM
I think that if you also made a list of the cars which require the most and most costly service you would come up with the same cars.
Jul 30, 2013 8:44PM

Stealing cars can net big bucks. Most chop shops will hand you anywhere from $500-$2000 a vehicle. Most car thieves will steal 1-4 cars a night. So I am assuming that chop shops are paying $500 per 3 series and $1000 per 7 series. $500-5000 for a nights work?


I always disable my vehicles. I have never, nor will I ever have a car stolen. From battery disconnect switches, to ignition disable, coil disable etc. Many ways to disable a car. Very few car thieves will use a truck to steal a car. they would rather just jump in and go, If it takes them three minutes or more, they wont do it. Also, too many reality shows have taught people how to steal cars. It is unbelievable what you can learn on daytime TV, prompting new car thief recruits 

Jul 30, 2013 2:23PM






Aug 4, 2013 2:35PM
This reminds me of about people needing to be cautionary with "flashing the wealth".  

Many years ago I worked as a contractor for a high-tech company in Silicon Valley and crossed paths with the company chairman in the parking lot.  This chairman/entrepreneur was a very wealthy expatriate from Hong Kong and his vehicle preference was a Mazda mini-pickup that was a couple of years old.  He told me during our encounter that he used to drive Mercedes, but he was subjected to being on the receiving end of road-rage incidents, vehicular break-ins, and thefts. But once he bought the Mazda mini-pickup, he was left alone and there were no more crimes being inflicted upon him and his vehicle.

Definitely a wise man that Confucius would have been proud of. 
Jul 30, 2013 10:30PM
Well, at least the car thieves have good taste!
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.

Have a story idea? Tip us off at