Here’s a dubious distinction: Mercedes-Benz makes the luxury cars most likely to be stolen nationwide, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Three Mercedes models—the C Class, E Class and S Class—landed in the top 10 cars listed on a NICB report on luxury-vehicle thefts.
But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Luxury vehicles have always been a prime target for thieves because of their high dollar value and status, says NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi. The issue with Mercedes seems to be nothing more than “a mix of numerous Benz models to target and the fact that they are prized vehicles,” Scafidi says.
“What our report does not say is how these vehicle were stolen,” he added. “It could be that most Mercedes-Benz drivers leave their keys in their car while having their poodles shampooed whereas BMW drivers are more careful about security. If that is the case then it is more a question about who is driving Mercedes rather than what makes them more attractive to thieves.”
A representative from Mercedes sent this response in request for comment:
“The simple fact is that the more desirable the vehicle, the more attractive the vehicle is to thieves. The C-Class is one of our bestselling models, so – not surprisingly – the numbers are higher. That said, a significant number of Mercedes-Benz models that are reported stolen are recovered (some very swiftly) thanks to our mbrace system which includes a stolen vehicle tracking feature (the same system which helped the authorities locate the Boston Marathon bombing suspects). So focusing purely on stolen vehicle reports doesn’t tell the whole story.”
Yes, the number of Mercedes stolen was significantly higher than that of its closest competitor, BMW. Thing is–even with the help of technologies like GPS positioning, On-Star tracking and Bluetooth connectivity–you shouldn’t necessarily expect to retrieve your car if it is stolen. Of the 4,384 luxury vehicle thefts reported in the analysis, 713 (16.3%) remain unrecovered.
“These are vehicles that are more likely to have been targeted by sophisticated organized theft rings which dismantle stolen vehicles for parts, VIN switch them to resell to unsuspecting buyers or export them to other countries,” said Jessica Rust, a NICB senior strategic analyst. New York and New Jersey,according to the report, are especially poor at retrieving stolen cars.
On the other hand, the actual amount of luxury cars stolen per year is surprisingly low. Between 2009 and 2012 thieves took just 4,384 luxury vehicles nationwide, with compact models in New York and California earning the highest number of thefts.
All told 2,150 compact luxury cars like the C-Class were stolen, 49 percent of the total. Mid-size models (1,734 thefts) and premium thefts (500 thefts) followed behind.