Only 4 Teslas have ever been stolen in US
The electric car may be hot, but it's rarely targeted by thieves.
This post comes from Catey Hill at partner site MarketWatch.
Tesla drivers love their cars — the Model S topped the latest Consumer Reports owner satisfaction survey — thanks in no small part to its sleek design, performance and eco-friendliness. But here's a Tesla perk that doesn't get the buzz it deserves: Teslas are unlikely to get stolen.
Once you own a Tesla, you’re not likely to part with it — unless you sell it, that is. Last year, only three Teslas (one in San Francisco, one in Los Angeles and one in San Diego) were reported stolen in the U.S., according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau . In 2012, none were reported stolen, and in 2011 just one was stolen (in New York). Indeed, since Tesla rolled out mass production of its vehicles in the U.S., only those four have ever been reported stolen.
And It's not as if there are no Teslas on the road. The auto maker sold about 20,000 cars in the U.S. last year, according to IBISWorld lead analyst Brandon Ruiz. Based on that estimate, its theft rate is pretty low at roughly 0.15 per 1,000 cars produced; the median theft rate for all cars is roughly 3.58 thefts per 1,000 vehicles produced, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Even other high-end luxury cars have a much higher theft rate. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 15,179 Infiniti FX35's produced in 2008, 52 were stolen (that's a rate of 3.43 cars per 1,000 made) and of the 159 Lamborghini Murcielago autos made in 2006, one was stolen (that's a rate of 6.29 per 1,000 automobiles).
One reason Teslas are unlikely to get taken is because they're pretty hard to steal — and often don't make sense to steal. Mark Takahashi, an editor at Edmunds.com, says that many cars are stolen for parts and there's not a big demand for stolen Tesla parts (most of the owners can afford to pay for the parts and there aren't that many Teslas on the road).
And, he says, "they’re more difficult to steal because they’re unusual cars."
Teslas don't have a traditional key (owners use a key fob, which unlocks and starts the car when they're nearby), and while thieves could steal the car by hacking into the Tesla network, he says that even then it's likely the whereabouts of the car could be tracked by Tesla.
Finally, if you drive the Tesla like you stole it, you may kill the battery — and it's hard to run from the cops with a car that doesn’t have any charge.
To be sure, you can certainly steal a Tesla (replicate the key fob, hack the network, etc.). And there are some cars that have no thefts reported. What's more, in general, luxury cars are less likely than budget models to get stolen — so it's not entirely surprising that Tesla’s theft rates are so low.
Indeed, the most-stolen cars in America (based on the number of thefts per 1,000 vehicles sold) are the Nissan GT-R, the Infiniti FX35, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet HHR, Chevrolet Impala, Hyundai Accent, Lamborghini Gallardo, Cadillac STS, Mitsubishi Galant and Dodge Charger, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — and most of those (with a few notable exceptions) are not luxury cars.
"The main reason people are stealing those [inexpensive cars] more often is because they're stealing them to sell them for parts," says Ruiz. Since there tends to be far more demand for parts for budget cars — and more people who are very cost conscious about what it costs to fix their car — this makes financial sense for thieves, he explains.
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