Each year, the Insurance Bureau of Canada releases a list of the 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in the country, and for the last few years, it's been a very homogeneous list. This year, though, they've changed from most frequently to just plain most stolen – we'll explain the difference in a second – and the list is very much different from any year we've seen previously.
The IBC is an industry association that Canada's private insurers, including auto insurers, so they have good data on auto theft based on the claims they see from around the county. Lists in the past were based on frequency of theft – the number of units stolen versus the number still on the road. It lead to a list that was nearly all various versions of the Ford Super Duty from the early 2000s. This year, it's based on the total count – the number of units stolen, regardless of the number on the road. And it's got some big changes and one clear winner. Or maybe that's loser, if yours is one of the ones gone missing.
- 2017 Ram 1500 4x4 – 141 stolen
- 2019 Lexus RX – 146 stolen
- 2017 Toyota Highlander – 155 stolen
- 2018 Toyota Highlander – 158 stolen
- 2019 Honda CR-V – 161 stolen
- 2018 Ford-150 4x4 – 199 stolen
- 2018 Lexus RX – 200 stolen
- 2017 Honda CR-V – 247 stolen
- 2017 Lexus RX – 258 stolen
- 2018 Honda CR-V – 350 stolen
The CR-V, Toyota Highlander, and Lexus RX are popular with consumers, and they're popular with thieves. Data from Ontario in the IBC report suggests they're being stolen for export and to be sold for parts on the black market.
The IBC says that electronic theft is on the rise, as vehicles gain more tech like keyless entry and remote start. High-end SUVs tend to be stolen for export, the bureau reports, but vehicles are also getting their VIN falsified or swapped with another vehicle and resold to unsuspecting buyers.
Joyrides are up, too, IBC says, with a growing trend, especially during the pandemic, of vehicles stolen for street racing, drifting, and other illegal racing activity.
The Ontario list reads much like the national data, which makes sense since it's the most populated market; and with British Columbia having a public insurer, the gap between other provinces grows.
In Alberta, the list was made up entirely of Ford and Ram pickups, with the four most-stolen Ford F-350 4x4 trucks all older than 2008. That year, Ford added vehicle immobilisers and no post-2008 Super Duty made the list. The F-150s taking two spots on the top 10, while Ram trucks are all 1500 models. These are all common oilfield trucks, and IBC says there are disproportionately more of them in the province.
Atlantic Canada saw mostly late-model pickups, 2011 and newer on the list, though the 2015 Honda Civic and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze made the list. Though if you're worried about your vehicle Down East, just 14 2017 Silverado and Sierra 1500 models were stolen at the top spot on the list. IBC says that these vehicles are likely targets for foreign exports.
How do you keep your vehicle where you parked it? IBC says to avoid leaving your keyless remote near the front door or in the vehicle as the signal can be used directly to unlock the doors and start the car, or copied for later use. They suggest installing a tracking device or immobiliser. Along with those tech tips, the long-time suggestions to not leave your vehicle running, not leave items and personal info inside, and to lock the doors and roll up the glass all still apply.