NEW YORK – Toyota Motor Corp.’s hybrid Prius is less likely to be stolen in the U.S. compared with cars of a similar age, as thieves target autos with parts that can be used in more-common vehicles, the National Insurance Crime Bureau said Wednesday.
One in 606 of the Prius models manufactured between 2008 and 2010 had been stolen as of the end of June, compared to 1 in 78 of all vehicles manufactured over the same period, the group said in a report.
“It’s a one-model car; the parts on it won’t fit anything else but a Prius,” said John Abounader, executive director of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators. “If you use a Camry, for instance, the engine might fit in another car. On a Prius, the engine is so different because they’re hybrid.”
Thieves tend to target models that have been around longer because there is a bigger market for parts. Honda Motor Co.’s 1994 Accord was the most frequently stolen car in the U.S. in 2011, according to a separate National Insurance Crime Bureau report. The 1998 Honda Civic was second.
“It could be that auto thieves are going to steal something for which there is generally a market or a need for the parts,” said Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Parts for Hondas or Nissans “are much more valuable because people who own those things tend to keep them a long time.”
California had the most stolen Prius models, with 1,062 thefts. Florida came in second, with 127, followed by New York, with 111. The hybrid became the best-selling vehicle line this year in California, which increased the number of cars available for theft.
The recovery rate for a stolen Prius is 96.7 percent, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau report.
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