The Highway Loss Data Institute tracked which newer-model cars had been stolen in the past year, and said overall car thefts are on a decline. That's thanks to the spread of ignition immobilizers (which make it impossible to start the car unless the key is present). That stops cars from being hot-wired, and was available as standard equipment on 89 percent of all 2012 model year cars, HLDI said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the July and August are the worst for car thefts. A car is stolen every 44 seconds, NHTSA says, largely because drivers do something careless like leave the keys inside.
The F-250 knocked the Cadillac Escalade off the most-targeted list for the first time since 2003. Even though the Escalade had an ignition immobilizer, it was a valuable enough car that thieves would push it up onto flatbed trucks and tow it away. In 2010, the Escalade got a steering column lock as well, which kept the front tires from turning from side to side, which helped lower theft rates.
The numbers putting the Ford F-250 and other pickup trucks might be a little skewed. A lot of insurance claims on pickup trucks come from things being stolen from the back bed, HLDI admits, meaning its data on the F-250 might mean thieves are simply stealing stuff they have easy access to. The numbers may not mean thieves are running away with the pickup truck more often than other cars.
The HLDI only tracks insured cars, which they say is a more accurate predictor of which cars thieves like to nab. The National Insurance Crime Bureau also publishes a most-stolen-cars list, but that list is based on all cars on the road, insured or uninsured, which means its list often looks very similar to the list of most popular cars on the road.
Take a look at the other vehicles targeted by thieves:
10. Chevrolet TahoeClaim Frequency: 4.4
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $5,367
This big Chevy SUV is the number 10 most stolen vehicle in the country. Thieves had better hope it has close to a full tank of gas when they break in, given they could easily run out during their getaway with the Tahoe's low 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway.
9. GMC YukonClaim Frequency: 4.5
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $6,276
The GMC Yukon is very similar to the Chevrolet Tahoe. It just has a little bit more refinement to it, especially on the interior. That probably makes it a little more tantalizing for car thieves.
8. GMC Sierra 1500 Extended CabClaim Frequency: 4.7
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $5,908
The number four selling truck in the country, behind the Ram, Silverado and F-150, is the number eight most stolen vehicle. Much like the Yukon is similar to the Tahoe, the Sierra is very similar to the Silverado, save some tweaks to the interior and design.
7. Chevrolet SuburbanClaim Frequency: 5.4
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $4,468
The Chevrolet Suburban has the distinction as the largest passenger vehicle on U.S. roads. Generally considered the vehicle of the "soccer-mom," it's also immensely popular for car thieves.
6. Cadillac EscaladeClaim Frequency: 5.5
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $6,508
You'd think there would be more luxury cars on this list, right? Oddly, the Cadillac Escalade is actually the only true luxury vehicle that cracked the top ten most stolen.
5. Ford F-350Claim Frequency: 5.6
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $7,517
Starting to see a pattern yet? Yep, these are all American brand cars. Coming in at the number five spot is the burly Ford F-350 truck.
4. GMC Sierra Crew CabClaim Frequency: 6.0
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $6,366
A slightly bigger version of the GMC Sierra than we saw earlier in the list, the Crew Cab comes in as the fourth most-stolen vehicle in America. Guess that little extra versatility is very tempting for thieves.
3. Chevrolet AvalancheClaim Frequency: 6.1
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $6,163
Seeing the Chevrolet Avalanche as the number three most stolen car is curious. Compared to some of the other vehicles on this list, there just aren't that many of them on the road.
2. Chevrolet Silverado Crew CabClaim Frequency: 6.7
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $5,463
The number two selling truck is also the number two most stolen. The Silverado is immensely popular, and with so many of them on the road, it makes sense that a lot are getting stolen.
1. Ford F-250Claim Frequency: 7.0
Average Loss Payment Per Claim: $7,060
The most stolen vehicle in America is the Ford F-250. This is a member of the F-Series line of trucks, which are, collectively, the best-selling vehicles in America. Thieves are targeting these trucks more than anything else right now.