Better invest in a good car alarm.
In past years, the Cadillac Escalade was at the top of the list for most stolen vehicles in the US, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. The good news for Escalade owners is that this is no longer the case, likely because GM has upgraded the large luxury SUV's anti-theft technologies. But there is some bad news. In the HLDI's latest study, the Hemi-powered Dodge Charger and the Hellcat-powered Challenger SRT Hellcat now top the list of vehicles most likely to be stolen.
It turns out both V8 monsters have theft claim rates that are more than five times the average for all 2016 to 2018 models. Interestingly, all of the top 20 vehicles on the list with the highest theft rates have big engines, are classified as luxury, or are pickup trucks. For example, number three on the list is the Infiniti Q50 sedan and number five is the GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab.
But what's kind of bizarre is the car that tops the list of least stolen vehicles, the BMW 3 and 4 Series. The reason why is likely due to BMW's enhanced security features. What's not so surprising are the two vehicles immediately after the BMW, the Tesla Model S and Model X. Again, more intricate anti-theft technologies, such as cameras and a motion sensor that triggers an alarm, clearly do their jobs. What does this say about the Charger and Challenger? Their anti-theft features are outdated.
It's totally understandable why both are attractive to car thieves, but Dodge clearly needs to do more. Insurance companies also take this data into account, so when Charger and Challenger buyers go to buy insurance, there'll be a greater likelihood for higher premiums.
Combined with the fact that V8s generally consume more gasoline than other engines, the cost of ownership or both could be higher than ever. Dodge could simply do what Cadillac has done to reduce Escalade thefts by adding glass breakage sensors, motion detectors and an inclination sensor that triggers an alarm if someone attempts to remove the wheels, tow the vehicle, or even lifting it onto a flatbed truck.
Cadillac's efforts paid off because the Escalade has been completely removed from HLDI's rankings of most commonly stolen vehicles. Until Dodge responds, our advice to Charger and Challenger owners is to invest in a high-quality aftermarket alarm system.