The Toyota Prius is a popular car — except when it is not. Among thieves, that is.
The world’s best-selling hybrid electric vehicle continues to outsell the competition with ease, but when it comes to the prospects of someone stealing this car, your worries as an owner are nothing compared to the person that owns an aged Honda Civic or even a Toyota Camry. That is the conclusion the National Insurance Crime Bureau has reached in its report published this November about the theft history of the Toyota Prius.
Toyota’s Prius hit the market in the late 1990s but it wasn’t until September 4, 2000, that the first report of a stolen Prius was made to the National Crime Information Center. From date first reported theft through June 30, 2012, there have been just 2,439 Priuses reported stolen representing just one in 606 vehicles reported stolen. That’s far below the average of one in 78 vehicles reported stolen for all 2008 to 2010 model year vehicles.
The NICB data reveals that the largest share of Prius thefts have taken place in California, our most populace state. Nearly 40 percent of all Prius thefts occurred there, numbering 1,062 vehicles stolen. The Golden State was followed by the Sunshine State with Florida reporting 127 thefts. New York at 111, Washington at 92 and Texas at 89 rounded out the top five.
Encouragingly, if your Toyota Prius is stolen it has an excellent chance of being recovered. Indeed, only 80 Priuses have never been recovered while 2,359 have been found for a recovery rate of 96.7 percent. Not only is Prius a highly efficient model, but it is by far the least likely to be lost forever due to theft.
So, the unasked question here is this one: why so few thefts of the Toyota Prius? That’s easy: the car uses a proprietary hybrid engine and other parts that cannot be used in other vehicles. Unlike other Toyota products, you cannot put a Prius engine in a Corolla or in a Matrix or in a Camry or in a RAV4. Thus, if someone steals a Prius, they’ll have to use its parts in another Prius or simply drive the car as is. Imagine owning a vehicle that is not popular with your local, shady chop shop.
Of course, the last thing you want to do is to leave your Toyota Prius unlocked with its keys still in the ignition. Thieves may not want to heist your ride, but there enough teens that may want to borrow it and put you at risk of losing your car in an accident, holding you liable for injuries or deaths incurred.