• Nov 16th 2010 at 7:24PM
  • 39
Stolen Cadillac Escalade – Click above to watch the video after the break

Sadly, it's simply not possible to build an automobile that's impossible to steal. But what we all hope for is that an automaker does all it can to make the unscrupulous thief's job as difficult as possible. According to a report from WXYZ Action News in Detroit, General Motors full-size SUVs aren't particularly hard to grab. In fact, the Cadillac Escalade is the insurance industry's most hated vehicle with $146 in theft loss payments per insured vehicle, per year. On average, insurance companies pay out around $11,934 per theft claim when it comes to the Escalade with 10.8 of the SUVs stolen per 1,000 vehicles.

Gone in 60 14 seconds, says the news station, citing a security flaw in the design of the vehicles' steering column (sounds familiar, no?). Specifically, it seems that the little locking metal pin that is supposed to keep the aforementioned Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon locked firmly in 'park' (which is supposed to be a safety feature, not necessarily a theft deterrent) is rather easy to defeat by giving the column-mounted shift stalk a hard yank down.

Also cited as a contributing factor is the lack of a steering wheel lock that inhibits directional movement of the vehicle when not running. It seems that GM decided to leave off this well-known feature for a period after the introduction of ignition keys with computer chips that make it difficult to start the machines without the properly coded chip.

Combine these flaws and you end up with a vehicle that isn't all that difficult to steal. Here's the process outlined in the video after the break: Smash the driver-side window (which apparently doesn't set off an alarm) and force the column-mounted shift lever into 'neutral.' Step two requires some help: Have a buddy with a mutually lax sense of right and wrong push you and your confiscated SUV to a deserted area and strip it of all its pricey bits and pieces. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, assuming you don't have a bothersome conscience.

According to a spokesperson for Cadillac, The General is aware of these issues and has introduced laminated glass for the side windows along with a beefed-up locking pin for the shift lever. Also, these full-size SUVs were re-equipped with locking steering wheels to make them more difficult to push without the proper ignition key. In any case, we'd suggest you keep a close eye on your blinged-out sport 'ute... and get used to paying higher-than-average insurance premiums.

Click past the break to watch a video of the full report.

[Source: WXYZ Action News]



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  • 39 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hehehe at jesse jackson getting his Caddy stolen. I hope sharpton is next

      Btw, how is it that people can just steal a car.....pushing it down the road no less in plain daylight....and have no cops notice that, yet I see one hiding around every corner and tree everyday. Sigh.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Guess their main focus was pushing OnStar like it would scare off criminals, sure they'll find your vehicle but only after it has been ripped apart. I Know OnStar is not a security system but with all this vehicle slow down and vehicle tracking they can do it seems if criminals want your dressed up Tahoe or blinged out Escalade they'll take it! Nothing can stop them! And with GM overlooking this issue with their steering columns they end up making it easier for all theives!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The thinking these days seems to be that technology solves all problems, and that simple deterrents like wheel-lock are soooooo Stone Age.

        Sure, OnStar and other tracking devices are nice in terms of finding stolen vehicles, but manufacturers cannot turn a blind eye to preventative measures in favor of reactionary ones.

        This seems like an incident where "penny-pinching" came back to bite them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Funniest article in a long time! Retired GM employee gets jacked 7 TIMES before she cries uncle and tosses her POS back to GM as a default. ROFL!

      Looks good on GM and their so-called "Flag Ship(t)" Makes me wonder what else they thought was unnecessary and dropped off.

      So I wonder what their first clue was that there was a problem?

      GM Employee: "That's odd...Mrs.So-and-so just bought their 7th Escalade this year on a GM pension. Oh well...back to surfing pr0n."

      LOL! FAIL
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've never been accused of being a fan of GM, but I kinda feel they're being unfairly blamed here.

      Based on this, my '09 M3 should be a target as well. MOST cars (including BMW) don't come with a built in alarm, so nothing happens when you break the glass.

      As for the shift lock, it's great if you have an automatic, but no manual transmission cars have any type of lock.

      That leaves the steering lock. The new GM one might be weak, but is it really weaker than others? I question whether other cars' steering locks get "tested" as heavily as the Escalade's do. I think the primary problem is that they unfortunately make an expensive car that appeals to a certain individuals who are willing to steal the cars and has ready access to buyers of legally-questionable parts.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A lot of cars don't come with a content alarm. But even if they did, all you'd have to do is buy a service manual for them and it would become fairly easy to learn how to disable each and every one of them. At least with an aftermarket alarm you can hide the brain and a battery backup in a less the usual place.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It has a non-functional light on the rear view mirror. An alarm system is considered a dealer-installed option that no one I know buys.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sad, but true. They are police-nip.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just proves that Americans have no taste.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, I'm a South Floridian, but hey, nice detective work.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Man, only GM would manage to take cost cutting up to this level even in their flagship luxury SUV. Fairly absurd to cheap out on a steering lock (and apparently window alarm sensors?!) on a $60,000 SUV.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So THAT'S how they do it... I keep hearing about the high number of Escalades / Tahoes / Yukons stolen and wondered how the thieves were bypassing the PassKey system... guess they didn't have to after all.

      One rural dealership nearby sells used Escalades. They have them side-by-side (inches apart), with a large truck on each end to prevent people from breaking into them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I do not think they have to worry as much. Part of the reason they are so frequently stolen is that they attract a more urban clientele. Notice how the vehicles stolen were in Detroit? That is no coincidence.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That is no surprise if it is near a big city, as upper middle class and wealthy suburbanites tend to be the demographic who drives Escalades and similar vehicles. You have them and the "shady, wanna-be gangstas" who think they are 50 Cent who drive them.

        When considering the above with the fact that they are expensive, typically daily driven, and flawed in terms of anti-theft, it should come as no surprise they are so frequently stolen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Surprisingly, although it's outside of the city, it's nearby an area where many stolen / stripped cars end up, so I guess they have to take extra precautions to ensure it doesn't happen to them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Easy-peasy lemon squeezy"

      an odd phrase in a post about auto theft.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Club costs $40. Problem solved.
      • 4 Years Ago
      YIKES!
      Let me guess, those optional 22inch wheels are in high priority for Soccer Moms... they DO look good.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I love column shifters because they provide so much room in the front console, but either GM needs to figure out how to stop the theft, or switch to a floor mount.

      And FTLOG, GM has been making the Slade for a while now, I think they should know how to keep people from stealing them.
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