Auto thieves have a new favorite: Big pickup trucks

The surge in large vehicle sales is also prompting more thefts of trucks like Ford's F-250.

By Bruce Kennedy Jul 11, 2013 7:22AM
Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup truck (© Ford Motor Company)

Sales of U.S. vehicles have come roaring back since the depths of the recession. June, in fact, was the best month for the nation's auto industry since the end of 2007 -- a turnaround fueled in large part by growing demand for big pickup trucks.

Of course, there's a downside to that trend: Those sought-after pickups have also become the favorite target of thieves. A new report by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HDLI) says the massive Ford (F) F-250 pickup now ranks at the top of vehicles with the highest rates of insurance claims for theft.

Surprisingly, the perennial favorite of car thieves, the Cadillac Escalade produced by GM (GM), fell from first to sixth place in the rankings of 2010-2012 vehicles, the years covered in the HDLI report.

"General Motors has put a lot of effort into new antitheft technology, so that may help explain the decline in the Escalade's theft rate," HLDI Vice President Matt Moore said in a press statement. "On the other hand, sales of the Escalade have fallen in recent years, so there may be less of a market for stolen Escalades or Escalade parts."

All of the top 10 vehicles on the HDLI list are either large pickups or large SUVs. The Institute notes that auto theft rates, in general are declining, due mostly to more new vehicles having ignition immobilizers, which prevent cars and trucks from being hot-wired.

The immobilizers were a standard feature in 89% of 2012 models, although they're less common in pickups, compared to cars and SUVs. The Institute notes the Escalade has always had the immobilizer feature, but that hasn't prevented ambitious thieves from towing it away on flatbed trucks or stripping its parts. Starting last year, however, the Escalade also came with an inclination sensor that springs an alarm when the vehicle's angle is changed.

The F-250 also had a standard immobilizer for 2010-2012, but it still ended up atop the theft list.

The HDLI also points out its data doesn't distinguish between the theft of a whole vehicle or of a vehicle's parts or contents. So, some of the F-250 claims could results from components being stolen, or even equipment taken from the truck bed.

More on moneyNOW

Jul 11, 2013 9:25AM
Illegal immigrants LOVE these things....
Jul 11, 2013 9:39AM
I don't know why this is new. These trucks like the F series have been the number one selling vehicle for a long time. There is a big customer base for parts.
Jul 11, 2013 10:12AM
Many of them are put in containers and shipped to central America. big market for these vehicles down there. Had a friend find his stolen Suburban down in Belize.
That should throw things in perspective since the F series pickup is the biggest selling vehicle of all time, including foreign crap(i meant cars). 
Jul 11, 2013 10:21AM
go to buy parts for one of them at the dealership and you'll understand why mid-night auto parts supply does such a good business. plastic oem components guaranteed to wear out or break as sson as the warranty expires, which is about 12-15 months here!
Jul 11, 2013 10:53AM
Jul 11, 2013 10:24AM
why  not. look at how much space there is for other stolen goods and seating for a couple of other " gangsta " buddies .
Jul 11, 2013 11:02AM
Thieves steal based on popularity.  That's a pretty big compliment to Ford.  I hope it helps my stock price.
Jul 11, 2013 11:47PM
F250-350's epecially 4x4's have been hot items for years in TX. Coyotes and drug smugglers prefer them for their payload capacity and toughness. If one is stolen in TX,  there's an 80%+ chance that it's heading to the Rio. They don't travel many roads the closer they are to the border when inbound with human or drug cargo, they skirt checkpoints by driving across farms and pastures and thru barbed wire fences, brush, ravines, creeks, etc. with zero concern for the truck or what gets in its way. After one inbound trip, and sometimes when it arrives at the border the truck it virtually totaled.
If you own one here in TX, it isn't a matter of if yours has been stolen, just when. Quite a testiment to their toughness. Dodge 2500-3500 4x4 diesels aren't too far behind. If you want to keep yours, don't park it in a public place, the closer you are to the Rio the danger grows exponentially. Sleep in it with a sawed-off shotgun.
Another ploy the illegals employ is steal a HD pick-up then swap plates with a similar LD or gasoline version. Often the owner of the truck that had swapped plates doesn't notice until the police near the border call him when they recover the stolen HD truck abandoned after a chase.
Generally the swapped plates go unreported for long enough that the HD truck appears clean when law enforcement runs the #'s.
But Obama says our border is secure and drug smuggling is minimal. BS! We're under siege down here by armed foreign invaders, and our gutless worthless POS prez and District of Criminals lie to America and act as if everything is fine. Fire them all or hang them from a tall tree with a short rope.

Jul 11, 2013 11:00AM

People should NEVER complain about the price of gas if they drive a gas guzzler.The

people ho steal them probable just drive until it runs out of gas.$100 for a tank of


Jul 11, 2013 11:25AM
I can't believe how racist this country is... Blame everything on the illegals.
Jul 11, 2013 8:45AM
Good get those gas guzzling pieces of **** off the road.
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