Most Stolen Car in the US: Hellcats on the Hunt


photo by Alexander Hutchinson

In the realm of muscle cars, the Dodge Charger stands as a symbol of raw power and automotive allure. However, their appeal extends beyond car enthusiasts to a less savory audience - thieves. The Dodge Charger, particularly the SRT Hellcat model, has garnered an infamous reputation as America's most stolen vehicle - a dubious honor that has risen sharply in recent years. The allure of Dodge muscle cars, especially the Charger and Challenger models equipped with powerful HEMI and Hellcat engines, makes them irresistible targets for thieves.

Since 2011, they have consistently ranked among the top five most-stolen vehicles in the United States. The 2020-22 Charger SRT Hellcat models have seen a particularly alarming increase in theft rates, with 25 whole-vehicle theft claims per 1,000 insured vehicles, a significant jump from the 18 claims for the 2019-21 models. To put this into perspective, the most-stolen vehicle between 2017 and 2019, the Infiniti Q60, had only 2 thefts per 1,000 insured vehicles. The numbers are unbelievable: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is 60 times more likely to be stolen than any other 2020-2022 car!

Several factors contribute to the problem. Firstly, these cars can be stolen without keys, making them more vulnerable to theft. Secondly, their parts, especially the engine and transmission, are valuable on the black market, offering a lucrative incentive for thieves. Additionally, their impressive horsepower ratings make it easy to quickly escape the scene. Models like the Dodge Charger Hellcat and Challenger Hellcat also command high resale values, further increasing their appeal to criminals.

The alarming theft rates of these vehicles have spurred manufacturers into action, leading to innovations like Dodge's Security Mode, which limits a stolen car's speed to three miles per hour (disablable only with a four-digit code). Yet, this measure is just a starting point in the ongoing battle to safeguard these automotive treasures. Despite the efforts, the ongoing problem highlights the need for continuous advancements in vehicle security technologies to protect these prized assets.

It's interesting to note the contrast with electric vehicles (EVs). 6 of the 20 models with the fewest theft claims are EVs, often parked in well-lit, secure areas for charging, making them less appealing to thieves. This trend might change with the introduction of electric models like the Dodge Charger Daytona. It will surely be fascinating to observe if the shift to electrification influences the appeal of these vehicles to thieves!

At the end of the day, Dodge Chargers, particularly the Hellcat and HEMI models, stand out as symbols of both automotive excellence and beacons for potential theft. As the automotive world advances, the allure of these muscle cars remains undiminished, yet it brings with it an evolving challenge in vehicle security.

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