Report: Toyota Prius Less Than Appetizing to Thieves; Short History, Small Market for Parts to Blame

By Trevor Dorchies | November 21, 2012
It appears that the Toyota Prius isn't just a one trick pony with its high fuel economy ratings. According to a report, car thieves aren't stealing the Prius for a couple of reasons. The National Insurance Crime Bureau has found that the Toyota Prius is less likely to be stolen than vehicles that are close in model year. The NICB's report shows that one in 606 Prius models made between the 2008 and the 2010 model year were stolen. Compare that to the one in 78 non-hybrid vehicles assembled for the same time period. “It’s a one-model car; the parts on it won’t fit anything else but a Prius,” said John Abounader, executive director of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, to Bloomberg. “If you use a Camry, for instance, the engine might fit in another car. On a Prius, the engine is so different because they’re hybrid.” The reason behind why the Prius isn't being targeted by car thieves could be attributed to a couple of factors. The first being that they tend to pick off vehicles that have been around for a while; case and point being the 1994 Honda Accord, the most stolen vehicle ever according to the NICB. Hybrid vehicles have only been available in the North American market for about 12 years now and parts are limited.
“It could be that auto thieves are going to steal something for which there is generally a market or a need for the parts,” said Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the NICB to Bloomberg. Certain vehicle's parts are much more valuable because people that own [certain vehicles] tend to keep them a long time.” To little surprise, California reported the most stolen Prius vehicles last year with 1,062 thefts. Hybrid vehicles are now the best-selling segment in California, too. Florida followed suit with 127 stolen and New York placed third with 111 taken without permission from the owner. The climbing number of hybrid sales combined with being available for a longer period of time may equal an increase in thefts though, according to the NICB. The NICB found a stolen Toyota Prius is very likely to be recovered with a 96.7 percent success rate. Source: Bloomberg