Another in a list of very sobering reasons to buy a Prius, the National Insurance Crime Bureau has issued a report explaining that the popular hybrid model is highly unlikely to be stolen. It is specifically the model years 2008 through 2010 which are stolen the least, with 1 in 606 reported stolen, versus the average of 1 in 78 stolen for all vehicles made during those years. That’s quite a difference, all the more surprising considering the car’s popularity. Toyota has sold 1.2 million of them in the US, and half of all hybrids on US roads have Prius badges.
So why is the Prius stolen so infrequently? The obvious answer would be that the car is too slow for an effective getaway. But perhaps car thieves just don’t shop at Whole Foods, or maybe the thrill of stealing a car is diminished somewhat when it’s something so dorky. That is, until you consider that the 1991 Camry and the 2000 Dodge Caravan are two of the most-stolen cars in America, and neither of them are likely to be labeled as “badass”. No, the actual reason is a question of practicality. Quite a lot of stolen cars are hacked apart for parts, and so it makes the most sense to steal cars which sell in big numbers, as these are the ones with parts that are in demand and easy to unload quickly. As popular as the Prius is for a hybrid, it’s not Camry popular.
There are still enough Prii (Toyota’s word, not mine) on the road that there is a demand for parts, but Prius owners tend to use the dealership for service more than independent shops, and dealerships are less likely to buy their parts from chop shops. The parts on the Prius are more or less entirely unique too, so they couldn’t be sold in order to be fitted to a different car. Then there is the complexity of the hybrid system, and the fact that disassembling the Prius is much more complicated than it is with a regular car. Having now gone into what is possibly a suspicious amount of detail on this subject, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from here. The report, after all, doesn’t speculate much on why this phenomenon is happening, they simply reported that it’s happening. They did go on to say in which states the Prius is stolen the most, but these are also those where it sells the best, and unsurprisingly, California is at the top of the list.