Top Car Models with Lowest Theft Rates in South Africa

Most Stolen and Least Stolen Cars in South Africa By Make and Model (2023)

Are you shopping for a new car or planning to expand your fleet? Finding out whether the car you’ve got your eye on is more likely to be stolen can be significant for your insurance costs, the risks associated with ownership, and your peace of mind. SA’s most-stolen vehicles are often high on the list because they’re common vehicles that many people want to own.

Understanding the patterns of vehicle theft and the frequency of theft claims in South Africa is crucial for any potential car buyer or insured vehicle owner. Thankfully, you can avoid the risk of theft claims and higher insurance premiums by buying smartly and choosing a car that’s not on the hot list. 


What Are the Most Hijacked Cars in South Africa as of June 2023?

Did you know that some cars are more likely to catch the eye of car thieves in South Africa, according to statistics? The latest data reveals that certain models top the list of most hijacked vehicles. “VW Polo – accounting for 8.6% of reported thefts; Toyota Hilux (6.8%); Toyota Etios (4.8%); Ford Ranger (4.9%); Toyota Fortuner (4.6%); and Nissan NP200 (4.2%)” are the most targeted by hijackers. This trend reflects not just the popularity of these models but also their allure to criminals. 


List of Most Hijacked Car Models:

  1. VW Polo – 8.6%
  2. Toyota Hilux – 6.8%
  3. Ford Ranger – 4.9%
  4. Toyota Etios – 4.8%
  5. Toyota Fortuner – 4.6%
  6. Nissan NP200 – 4.2%


The prevalence of these models on South African roads makes them prime targets for thieves. Their popularity ensures a steady demand in the illegal market for parts and resale. This trend underscores the need for robust vehicle security measures for these models, especially in high-risk areas. Owners of popular models like the VW Polo or Toyota Hilux, which frequently appear in theft claims, should be particularly vigilant.


How Has Vehicle Theft Evolved Over the Years?

The evolution of vehicle theft in South Africa is alarming. From 2021/2022 to 2022/2023, households experiencing vehicle theft jumped from 47,000 to 73,000. This increase highlights the growing challenge of vehicle security in the nation. Cartrack’s alarming statistics for 2022 emphasize the hotspots for these crimes, with Gauteng, KZN, and Cape Town being the most affected areas.

The upward trend in vehicle theft highlights the evolving tactics of car thieves and the importance of staying vigilant. This data necessitates a proactive approach from car owners, including considering advanced security systems and tracking devices to deter theft. The rise in vehicle theft, especially of high-value vehicles like luxury SUVs, also signals a shift in the tactics of modern car thieves.

source: statssa


Are Carjackings on the Rise in 2023?

Presenting a worrying scenario, the SAPS noted that 5,488 cars were hijacked in just the first quarter of 2023/24. This staggering number breaks down to about 60 cars stolen every day across the country. Despite a 6.4% decline compared to 2022, an 8.9% increase in carjackings from April to June 2023 paints a concerning picture.

Despite a slight decline in overall hijackings, the month-on-month increase is a concern. The fluctuating nature of these statistics suggests that carjackers are constantly adapting their strategies.


Monthly Carjacking Statistics:

  • April: 1,742 incidents
  • June: 1,898 incidents

Awareness of these trends is crucial for car owners, especially in urban centres where the risk is higher. The increasing trend in vehicle theft, particularly carjackings, poses a growing concern for vehicle owners across South Africa.


Which Provinces Are Most Affected by Carjackings?

In the first quarter of 2023/24, Gauteng experienced a lion’s share of carjackings, with 2,735 incidents. This was followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Western Cape. Surprisingly, the Western Cape’s Harare region witnessed the most hijackings per region, with a significant 19% increase over the last year. In Gauteng, Olievenhoutbosch topped the list, while Johannesburg’s Protea area saw a dramatic 88.2% increase in such incidents.


Top Three Provinces for Carjackings (2023):

  1. Gauteng: 2,735 hijackings
  2. Kwa-Zulu Natal: 835 hijackings
  3. Western Cape: 749 hijackings

These numbers illustrate the need for heightened security measures in these regions. Vehicle owners in these areas should be particularly cautious and consider additional safety features for their cars. “In provinces like Gauteng, owners should be extra cautious and consider stronger anti-theft measures.


What Types of Vehicles Are Most Targeted for Hijacking?

While overall hijackings showed a slight decline, insurers like Santam observed an uptick in crime-related vehicle claims, particularly for high-value and keyless vehicles. Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann echoed this, noting that popular models like VW Polo, Toyota Hilux, and others remain prime targets. Intriguingly, luxury models like Toyota Prados and Landcruisers are also sought after by criminals.

The focus on popular hatchbacks and bakkies indicates a market-driven aspect of vehicle theft. This trend emphasizes the need for heightened security for these vehicle types.


Most Targeted Vehicle Types (2023):

  • Sedans, Hatchbacks, Coupes: 2,591 hijacked
  • Bakkies: 1,582 hijacked

Owners of these vehicle types should be particularly aware of the risks and consider investing in advanced anti-theft systems.


What About Electric Vehicles and Their Theft Rates?

As South Africa welcomes the Tesla Model 3, a beacon of the electric vehicle revolution, one wonders about its theft rates. Elon Musk’s South African roots have undoubtedly sparked interest in these models. However, their theft rates and vulnerability to hijacking remain to be seen as the electric vehicle market evolves in the country.

South Africa’s Most Secure Car Models to Deter Theft

Which Cars Are Least Likely to Be Stolen in 2023?

In contrast, certain models like Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover Defenders, BMW X3, and Nissan Leaf rank among the least stolen cars. Other sources align with this, adding brands like Chrysler, Yamaha, and GWM to the list. Notably, Suzuki continues to be one of the least hijacked brands, reflecting its lower risk profile.


List of Least Stolen Car Models in South Africa (2023)

  1. Volvo
  2. Jaguar
  3. Land Rover Defenders
  4. BMW X3
  5. Nissan Leaf
  6. Chrysler
  7. Yamaha
  8. GWM
  9. Porsche
  10. Dodge
  11. Chevrolet / Opel
  12. Mahindra
  13. Lexus


Models such as the Land Rover Defenders and BMW X3, categorized as luxury SUVs, show fewer theft claims, making them a safer choice in terms of vehicle theft. The lower theft rates for these models could be due to a variety of factors, including advanced security features and less demand in the illegal market.


How Vehicle Theft Affects Insurance Premiums

The model and security features of your car can significantly impact your insurance premiums. Vehicles that are frequently targeted for theft, like some popular models mentioned earlier, often come with higher insurance costs due to the increased risk. On the other hand, owning a less-targeted model or one equipped with advanced security features can lead to lower insurance premiums.

Insurance companies recognise the reduced risk of theft and may offer more favourable terms. Therefore, choosing a car model that’s less appealing to thieves, combined with proactive security measures, not only provides peace of mind but can also be financially beneficial in the long run.


Tips for Protecting Your Vehicle from Theft

In light of the increasing car hijackings, it’s crucial to adopt measures that enhance your safety and reduce the risk of becoming a victim. Aside from the most obvious measure of installing a tracker and getting tracking services, here are some additional effective strategies:

  1. Choose Secure Parking: Always park in well-lit and secure areas, preferably with a guard on duty. This reduces the likelihood of your vehicle being targeted when unattended.

  2. Smart Key Management: Be ready with your keys as you approach your car but keep them hidden. Opt for vehicles with keyless entry, like many Suzuki models, to avoid fumbling with keys, especially in poorly lit areas. 

  3. Stash Your Valuables: Keep personal items and valuables out of sight, ideally in the trunk, to avoid attracting attention.

  4. Secure Windows and Doors: While driving, keep your windows up and doors locked to prevent easy access to your vehicle.

  5. Stay Alert and Vigilant: Always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Keep an eye on your mirrors for any following vehicles or pedestrians and avoid distractions like using your phone at traffic lights.

  6. Keep Moving When Possible: At night, approach red robots slowly, hoping they turn green by the time you get there, reducing the time spent stationary.

  7. Maintain a Safe Distance: Keep a safe following distance of approximately one car length of space from the vehicle in front of you, especially at robots, to allow room to maneuver in an emergency. 

  8. Respond to Being Followed: If you suspect you’re being followed, head straight to the nearest police station or a busy, well-lit area.

  9. Vary Your Routine: Regularly change your driving routes to prevent potential hijackers from learning your schedule.

  10. Coordinate Gate Operations: Inform others of your arrival time so gates can be promptly opened and closed, minimising exposure.

  11. Ensure Visibility at Home: Keep your driveway well-lit and trim any overgrown foliage that might obscure a clear view of your surroundings.

Adopting these habits can significantly lower the chances of becoming a target for car hijackers. Remember, your vigilance and proactive approach are key defences against vehicle theft.


How to Avoid Becoming a Statistic?

If you already own a high-risk vehicle, you can take measures to protect it with the right vehicle tracking services. And even if you do not own a high-risk ride, the truth is that there is always a risk of hijacking or theft if you live in South Africa.

Since crime statistics prove a strong increase in incidences, it’s best not to take chances with so valuable an investment. Get that extra layer of protection today with tracking services the easy way. Let us hook you up to exclusive deals from the best tracking company for your needs – just fill in the form on this page to get started!