Car Thieves Are Having A Fiesta

Thu 17th Feb 2022

The Ford Fiesta was the most popular car of 2021 in more ways than one, with new data showing that the compact car was the most stolen car of the year.

A Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has shown that there were close to 48,500 vehicles recorded as stolen in 2021, up three per cent from 46,800 in 2020.

Ford’s supermini topped the charts for used-car sales in 2021 and was also a favourite in the new car lists, but it’s popularity means that there are more of them to steal and that proved to be the case with 3,909 stolen, more than ten a day across the UK. 

But while Ford’s car comes at the bottom end of the affordability scale, those who own a Land Rover Range Rover will be concerned to hear that they too were the target of thieves, with 3,754 stolen.

It’s thought that the Range Rover is particularly vulnerable due to its keyless tech which is being exploited by sophisticated criminal gangs, and motor security experts, Thatcham Research has advised that owners need to do more to protect their expensive cars.

“Although any increase in vehicle thefts will be a concern to car owners, we are still a long way off from the endemic car crime seen in the early 1990s – where upwards of 600,000 cars were stolen in a single year, with thieves mostly using equipment found in a toolbox,” Thatcham’s Richard Billyeald said.

“Over the years car makers have added layers of security to successfully deter opportunistic thieves. Vehicle theft is now largely the preserve of sophisticated criminal gangs, using digital kit to navigate mechanical security.

“Keyless entry systems have been problematic and can be exploited by thieves using a technique known as the 'Relay Attack'. Many car makers do now offer countermeasures with new vehicles, such as motion-sensor enabled fobs. However, all new cars with keyless systems should have a solution to this long-standing vulnerability in place.

“Drivers should go into the dealership with their eyes open to security and have a checklist of questions prepared around keyless entry, connected systems, apps, alarms and immobilisers.”