- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

CHICAGO, March 19 (UPI) — The Toyota Camry remained the favorite of car thieves for the sixth straight year, according to CCC Information Services Inc., a Chicago-based insurance industry tracker that compiles an annual list of most-stolen vehicles.

The 1989 Camry was the most stolen vehicle for the fourth time in five years. The 1991 Camry, last year's most-stolen vehicle, was No. 2 followed by the 1990 Camry, the 2000 Honda Civic and 1994 Accord.

The report said theft of classic muscle cars decreased, with the once highly prized Chevrolet Camaro falling from 16th to 36th place on the most-stolen list. Thefts of full-sized cars also declined while minivans and SUVs showed a 10 percent increase but still didn't crack the top 25.

"Though we cannot determine with absolute certainty the reason for vehicle theft, trends suggest that cars are often stolen for the value of their parts," said Mary Jo Prigge, president of sales and service.

Toyota and Honda models comprised 20 of the top 25 most-stolen vehicles in 2002, with the Honda Accord the most stolen regardless of model year.

CCC's data analysis showed a clustering of Toyota and Honda vehicles in the top 100 most stolen vehicles indicating auto thieves are targeting cars with highly profitable interchangeable parts. A bumper from a 1987 Camry is likely to fit several Camry models.

Maybe it has something to do with the popularity of Japanese cars with "tuners" who spend thousands to soup up compacts with high air flow filters, large racing tires and ground effects kits turning the small cars into mean street machines like in last year's blockbuster movie "The Fast and Furious."

An average 6,400 vehicles are reported stolen in the United States each day, not including temporary "joy rides" of recovered vehicles or theft of accessories such as radios and CD players.

Four domestic vehicles in the top 25 most stolen were all trucks — the 1994 Chevrolet C1500 4X2, 1997 Ford F150 4X2, 2001 Ford F150 4X2 and the 1997 Chevrolet C1500 4X2.

CCC Information Services bases its annual most stolen list on theft reports submitted by more than 350 property and casualty insurers.


Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles of 2002

1. 1989 Toyota Camry

2. 1991 Toyota Camry

3. 1990 Toyota Camry

4. 2000 Honda Civic SI

5. 1994 Honda Accord EX

6. 1994 Chevrolet C155 4X2

7. 1995 Honda Accord EX

8. 1988 Toyota Camry

9. 1994 Honda Accord LX

10. 1996 Honda Accord LX

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