Video: Why the Cadillac Escalade is a particularly easy target for thieves

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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