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Keyless car theft hits all-time high

Keyless car theft continues to rise, with nine out of 10 of the stolen cars Tracker recovered in 2019 taken this way.

2018 Range Rover Sport PHEV

The Ranger Rover Sport jumped to the top spot in the Tracker Most Stolen and Recovered League Table 2019

Analysis of Tracker data shows 92% of the cars it recovered last year were taken without using the keys, up from 88% in 2018 and 66% in 2016.

The Tracker data also shows the Ranger Rover Sport was the number one choice for thieves in 2019, jumping from eighth place in the Tracker Most Stolen and Recovered League Table in 2018. It replaces the BMW X5, which topped the chart in 2018 and now sits at number two. This in turn, has pushed the 2018 number two, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, to third place in 2019.

The data shows how premium cars are at risk of keyless car theft and are frequently stolen to order by organised criminal groups.

Clive Wain, head of police liaison for Tracker, explained: “Thieves exploit keyless technology by using sophisticated equipment, which can hijack the car key’s signal from inside an owner’s home and remotely fool the system into unlocking the doors and start the engine. This is commonly known as a relay attack.”

He added: “To help prevent car owners falling victim to keyless car theft, traditional visual deterrents, such as crook locks and wheel clamps can help deter thieves and are a good investment to make. However, in the event of a car being stolen, vehicle tracking technology will not only help police close the net on thieves but see a stolen vehicle returned to its rightful owner.”

Top Models Stolen and Recovered in 2019:

  1. Range Rover Sport
  2. BMW X5
  3. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  4. Range Rover Vogue
  5. Land Rover Discovery
  6. BMW X6
  7. Range Rover Evoque
  8. BMW 3 Series
  9. Range Rover Autobiography
  10. Mercedes-Benz E-Class


Top Models Stolen and Recovered in 2018:

  1. BMW X5
  2. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  3. BMW 3 Series
  4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  5. BMW 5 Series
  6. Range Rover Vogue
  7. Land Rover Discovery
  8. Range Rover Sport
  9. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  10. Mercedes-Benz GLE
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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.