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The Big and the Bold: What Auto Thieves Want

Cadillac Escalade
Source: Cadillac.com
Cadillac Escalade

Every year we get the list of most targeted cars and trucks by thieves and every year it seems to be the same story.

If you're driving a pint size car, don't worry.

The odds of auto thieves targeting your Ford Focus are fairly limited.

By comparison, it's those of you styling behind a Cadillac Escalade who need to realize your Luxury SUV has a target on it. And those of you with a pick-up are in a similar spot.

What stands out from the latest list of most and least targeted stolen vehicles according to the Highway Loss Data Instituteis that auto thieves want big and bold models.

The top five according to HLDI:

  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Ford F-250 crew 4WD ('08-'09)
  • Infiniti G37 2-door ('08-'09)
  • Dodge Charger HEMI
  • Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The four least targeted:

  1. Volvo S80
  2. Saturn VUE 4WD ('08-'09)
  3. Nissan Murano (2009)
  4. Saturn VUE ('08-'09)

According to HLDI, the Escalade and other luxury SUV's are 3-5 times more likely to be stolen than the average car. And in the case of the Escalade one of every four theft claims is for $40,000 or more.

And yes, even though these luxury rides have the latest ignition immobilizers, HLDI says the new technology doesn't stop the thieves. That's because they'll simply load the SUV on a flatbed and haul it away.

"The Escalade and other luxury SUV's are 3-5 times more likely to be stolen than the average car." -Behind The Wheel, CNBC, Phil LeBeau

What can you take away from all of this?

More than anything, the lists reinforce what we've seen for much of the last 15 years. Auto thieves want the big pay off. That comes from the luxury SUV's and work pick-ups (in part because of the tools and equipment they often hold) which can be either broken down and sold in pieces or shipped off and sold on the black market elsewhere.

That's not the case with fuel efficient family cars.

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___________________________ Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com