You have to be vigilant when purchasing a popular, used car from a private party

There was a time when stealing a vehicle was as easy as breaking out the ignition, and touching together a couple of wires under the dash. But, as automotive technology has evolved, it has become increasingly harder or thieves to make away with your investment on four wheels. Over the years, we’ve seen various types of anti-theft systems that use anything from resistor built into keys, to intelligent lock cylinders, to keys with special chips that tell the onboard computer that it’s okay for the engine to start. As technology gets smarter, however, so do thieves. And, a recent British Crime Survey has found that between April of 2015 and March of 2016, there was a rise in car theft by eight percent, with 80,047 vehicles reported stolen – a figure that doesn’t include cars stolen as home burglary or asset fraud.

A service known as obtains and maintains data for every car on U.K. roads with the help of local police departments, the DVLA, financers, and insurance companies. As such, it has a pretty good bearing on what cars are the at the highest risk of being stolen in the U.K. Models like the Honda Jazz SE CVT and the Ford Fiesta Zetec take up fourth and fifth place on the list with 1.33- and 0.26-percent of registration checks, respectively, coming back as being reported stolen. Moving up the list, and those numbers start to grow at alarming rates.

No. 3 on the top-five list is the Range Rover Evoque Dynamics D4A at 5.26 percent of models coming back stolen, while the No. 2 slot is reserved for the Mercedes-Benz CLC 220 Cdi Sport Auto at a shocking 9.09 percent. Finally, the most popular car and the one to be marked as the model with the highest percentage of stolen warnings for 2016, is the gorgeous and powerful Porsche 911 Carrera 4S at a shocking 16.67 percent. That computes to an average of one out of every six registrations coming back with a stolen warning!

Roger Powell, the head of, said, “It should come as no surprise that the cars most at risk of being stolen in 2016 are prestige models: a Porsche 911 sports car, Mercedes-Benz CLC220 coupe, and Land Rover Evoque SUV. They are desirable to used car buyers and targeted by car thieves due to the profit potential.” And, he’s right, there is a lot of profit potential there, but that’s exactly why it’s important to make sure the car you’re buying is legitimate – It’s hard to imagine much worse than getting pulled over and finding out that your new “used” car is due to be seized and returned to the rightful owner. In the case of models like the 911 Carrera 4S and the CLC 220, that’s a pretty expensive mistake to make.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it Matters

Car theft isn’t a new thing, and it’ not going to go away anytime soon. Things have gotten better in recent years, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that there is always a workaround to get past even the most advanced anti-theft systems. And, with the plethora of information on the internet, it is easier than ever to learn every trick in the book.

With that said, always be sure to perform your own registration checks before purchasing a used vehicle and, if you notice anything suspicious at all, it might be best to look elsewhere. It might cost you a few bucks to run a full registration check but, in the end, that’s much better than finding out you just spent thousands on a car that wasn’t the seller’s to begin with.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
About the author lists top 5 and comments on increase in vehicle crime has named the five cars most at risk of being stolen in 2016. The list is topped by some distance by the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, with 1 in 6 registrations checked returning a stolen warning.

Second most at risk was the Mercedes-Benz CLC 220 Cdi Sport Auto, with 1 in 11 checked returning a stolen warning, followed by the Range Rover Evoque Dynamics D4A, Honda Jazz SE CVT and Ford Fiesta Zetec.

Table 1. Cars with highest percentage of stolen warnings in 2016

Make and model % checks
1 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 16.67%
2 Mercedes-Benz CLC 220 Cdi Sport Auto 9.09%
3 Range Rover Evoque Dynamics D4A 5.26%
4 Honda Jazz SE CVT 1.33%
5 Ford Fiesta Zetec 0.26%
Source: (models with minimum 10 checks giving at least 2 stolen warnings)

Head of, Roger Powell, said: “It should come as no surprise that the cars most at risk of being stolen in 2016 are prestige models: a Porsche 911 sports car, Mercedes-benz Clc220 coupe and Land Rover Evoque SUV. They are desirable to used car buyers and targeted by car thieves due to the profit potential.

“The fact that the UK’s best-selling car, the Fiesta, is fifth on our list shows that any used car for sale can potentially be stolen. While the risk of buying one is relatively low, you must weigh that against the embarrassment of being pulled by the police and finding yourself massively out of pocket when it is seized and returned to its rightful owner. That’s why all motor traders use vehicle provenance checks and we urge all consumers to do the same.

“The latest British Crime Survey showed that vehicle theft is on the rise for the first time in 20 years. The period April 2015 to March 2016 saw an 8% rise, with 80,047 vehicles recorded as stolen. You also have to bear in mind that cars stolen during house burglaries or by asset fraud aren’t included, so the problem is serious and getting worse.”

With information from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses, My Car Check holds comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads – things that buyers should be aware of before making an offer.

CDL Vehicle Information Services, which owns My Car Check, performs over a million look-ups a day for companies including AutoExpress, CompareTheMarket, Go-Compare, Moneysupermarket, Swiftcover, Tesco and WhatCar?.

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