What cars were stolen most in 2020 according to DVLA data?

Vehicle thefts accelerated by a third last year, according to new data, despite two national lockdowns and more drivers being indoors to keep a closer eye on their motors.  

There were 74,769 vehicles pinched from their owners last year - this is a 33 per cent leap up from 56,288 in 2019, according to Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency figures.

The question is: is your car one of the top 15 that is being most-targeted by criminals?    

The Ford Fiesta is the most stolen car in Britain, which is unsurprising given it's also the most common model on our roads. Some 3,392 were reported to the DVLA in 2020 as being pinched

The Ford Fiesta is the most stolen car in Britain, which is unsurprising given it's also the most common model on our roads. Some 3,392 were reported to the DVLA in 2020 as being pinched

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Car leasing firm Rivervale Leasing has submitted Freedom of Information requests to the DVLA regarding the most stolen vehicles on two consecutive years.  

The latest statistics provided by the Government agency show that 18,481 more vehicles (including motorcycles) were nicked from their rightful keepers last year than in 2019.

Shockingly, that equates to 205 motor thefts per day, with keyless car crime at the heart of the growing problem.

As well as the increasing rate of stolen motors in Britain, fewer owners are likely to see their vehicles again than before - with almost three quarters never returned to their owners, says the latest official figures.

According to the most recent Office for National Statistics report on vehicle-related theft, 72 per cent of pinched cars are not handed back to the keeper.

A return rate of just 28 per cent in the year ending March 2020 is the lowest return vehicle rate for a decade, the ONS stats say.   

There is also a high chance that the smaller percentage of motorists who are likely to get their car back will receive it with some form of damage.

Ford Fiesta is most commonly pinched but high volume of Range Rover thefts suggest keyless car crime is rife

In terms of the motors that are being targeted most by thieves, the Ford Fiesta tops the charts with 3,392 reported cases to the DVLA in 2020.

Top 15 most stolen car models in 2020 

1. Ford Fiesta - 3,392

2. Land Rover Range Rover - 2,881

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3. Volkswagen Golf - 1,975 

4. Ford Focus - 1,587 

5. BMW 3 Series - 1,435 

6. Vauxhall Astra - 1,126 

7. Land Rover Discovery - 900 

8. Mercedes-Benz E Class - 766 

9. BMW 5 Series - 678 

10. Nissan Qashqai - 655 

11. Ford Kuga - 620 

12. BMW X5 - 551 

13. Fiat 500 - 358 

14. Mercedes-Benz GLC - 342 

15. Audi A6 - 268

Source: DVLA records for all vehicles notified by the police as stolen between 1 January 2020 and 21 December 2020 - result of an FOI request from Rivervale Leasing

This comes as no surprise, given the Fiesta is the UK's most popular motor, being the most-registered car in the UK for 12 consecutive years.

However, the disclosed records show that 1,008 more Fiestas were pinched last year than the 12 months prior.

And proving that it isn't just the most common cars on the road that are most frequently taken from owners, the Range Rover was second on the list again.

There were 2,881 reported cases of the expensive SUVs being stolen from keepers last year - up 50 per cent on 2019.

This is a clear reflection of the ongoing crime wave involving criminal gangs using keyless technology to target high-value premium cars - a problem that has been worsening in recent years.

There is further evidence of luxury vehicles being taken using 'relay devices' in the list of the top 15 most nicked motors.

While common cars like the VW Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Nissan Qashqai all featured in rankings for models that are commonly stolen, there were plenty of expensive, premium-brand vehicles among them.

These include the BMW 3 Series, 5 Series and X5 SUV, Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes-Benz E-class and GLC SUV. Audi's A6 also rounded out the top 15. 

The Range Rover is the second most stolen car in 2020, with 2,881 instances. This is likely the result of gangs targeting the high-value SUVs using keyless thefts

The Range Rover is the second most stolen car in 2020, with 2,881 instances. This is likely the result of gangs targeting the high-value SUVs using keyless thefts

A separate report from Global Telemetrics, a leading vehicle tracking device provider, provided further evidence that Range Rovers are high on criminal gangs' lists.

Understandably, most of its customers are owners of high-end motors looking to protect their valuable assets.

It found that Land Rover's Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Vogue and Discovery are the three vehicles that triggered its tracking systems last year.

Next most common were the Fiat Ducato and Ford Transit, with thieves also likely to be going after expensive tools locked inside.

The VW Golf, another popular car in Britain, was the third most nicked model, with 1,975 cases

The VW Golf, another popular car in Britain, was the third most nicked model, with 1,975 cases

The Ford Focus was the fourth most commonly pinched model, according to DVLA records given to Rivervale Leasing

The Ford Focus was the fourth most commonly pinched model, according to DVLA records given to Rivervale Leasing

Some 900 Land Rover Discovery models were taken by thieves in 2020, the stats show

Some 900 Land Rover Discovery models were taken by thieves in 2020, the stats show

The BMW 3 Series was the fifth most stolen car in 2020

The X5 SUV from BMW was the 12th most frequently reported stolen car

Expensive models from BMW, including the 3 Series (left) and X5 (right) were among the top 15 most stolen cars

Pricey Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes models also featured high on its list, with most being big SUVs. 

This is Money revealed in 2019 that gangs are sharing shopping lists of easy-target models using keyless relay attacks.

Communication between criminals via messaging apps like WhatsApp include details of how to steal them, their sell-on value and where examples are located.

Vehicle protection and management technology provider, AX, told us that thieves aren't just focusing on expensive models but are stealing some of Britain's most in-demand mainstream cars and selling them on the black market for between £1,000 and £3,000 - which could also explain why the list is a mix of luxury and common vehicles.

Some eight Lamborghinis were reported stolen to the DVLA last year, including two Urus SUVs (pictured)

Some eight Lamborghinis were reported stolen to the DVLA last year, including two Urus SUVs (pictured)

Incredibly, 101 John Deere vehicles were reported stolen last year, including one of these 3036E Compact utility tractors

Incredibly, 101 John Deere vehicles were reported stolen last year, including one of these 3036E Compact utility tractors

The DVLA figures provided to Rivervale Leasing also revealed the volume of thefts of ultra-expensive and rare makes.

For instance, five Ferraris, eight Lamborghinis and one

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