From the December 2012 issue of Claims Magazine •Subscribe!

Thieves “Just Not That Into” Toyota Prius

The top-selling hybrid electric vehicle is a surprisingly tough sell to car thieves, according to a new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

With over 1.2 million sold as of April 2012, the Toyota Prius accounts for half of all hybrids on the road today. Yet, despite its allure to consumers, the popular model has both a remarkably low theft rate and a high recovery rate.

The NICB reported this and other findings in its detailed analysis after charting the history of Prius thefts from when the model was first introduced to the U.S. auto market in 2000 through June 30, 2012. The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) logged the first Prius theft on September 4, 2000. Since then, hybrids have made up a small part of total U.S. auto theft equation.

For instance, a comparison of all car theft rates by model year indicates that the 2008-2010 Prius had a much lower theft rate—just one in 606 vehicles reported stolen—than the average for all 2008-2010 models (one in 78 vehicles reported stolen).

According to NCIC records, 2,439 Toyota Prius thefts occurred between Sept. 4, 2000 and June 30, 2012. There has been a general uptick each year in the number of Prius thefts with the exception of 2009, which had a drop from the year before. The NICB also notes that 2012 is on track to have fewer Prius thefts than occurred in 2011.

The top five states for Prius thefts in descending order were California (1,062); Florida (127); New York (111); Washington (92); and Texas (89). The full report is available on NICB’s website.

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