The Cadillac Escalade apparently has become as popular with thieves as it is among the producers of music videos: The $52,000-plus sport utility vehicle tops an insurance group's newest list of vehicles with the highest theft claim rates.
Two of the Escalade's competitors, the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition, also make the top 10 list being released today by the Virginia-based Highway Loss Data Institute.
The ranking, updated annually, is based on claims for thefts of entire vehicles or components - in this case of 2000 through 2002 models. The group says a major attraction of the Escalade for thieves is its wheels. The Escalade's theft claim frequency is about four times the average for all vehicles, the institute said.
Five of the other vehicles on the group's list are sold by DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler unit. While one, the Jeep Wrangler, is often a target for thieves because of its soft top, the other Chryslers are there, says Hazelbaker, because Chrysler has been slow to make an anti-hot-wiring engine immobilizer feature part of its security systems.
The 10 models with the highest theft claims, according to the Highway Loss Data
Frequency of claims per 1,000 insured vehicles
Cadillac Escalade 4WD 10.3
Dodge Stratus 8.7
Mitsubishi Mirage 7.2
Jeep Wrangler 4WD 7.2
Lincoln Navigator 2WD 6.6
Dodge Intrepid 5.8
Lincoln Navigator 4WD 5.7
Dodge Ram 1500 Series 5.6
Ford Expedition 2WD 5.6
Chrysler Sebring 5.5
AVERAGE FOR ALL CARS 2.6