UK’s Most Stolen Cars: The Latest Update

UK’s Most Stolen Cars: The Latest Update

Revealed: UK’s Most Stolen Cars - The Latest Update

Last year, we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA to uncover the UK’s most stolen cars in 2019. Now, after submitting a new request, we can reveal the latest 2020 figures – is your car at risk?

The top 15 cars stolen in 2020

  1. Ford Fiesta - 3,392
  2. Land Rover Range Rover - 2,881
  3. Volkswagen Golf - 1,975
  4. Ford Focus - 1,587
  5. BMW 3 Series - 1,435
  6. Vauxhall Astra - 1,126
  7. Land Rover Discovery - 900
  8. Mercedes-Benz E Class - 766
  9. BMW 5 Series - 678
  10. Nissan Qashqai - 655
  11. Ford Kuga - 620
  12. BMW X5 - 551
  13. Fiat 500 - 358
  14. Mercedes-Benz GLC - 342
  15. Audi A6 - 268

75,000 vehicles were stolen in 2020 – almost 20,000 more than 2019

The DVLA data discloses that a huge 74,769 vehicles were stolen in 2020, which equals 205 thefts per day. Shockingly, this is 18,481 more vehicles than our last report. We asked the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Department for Transport and the Home Office for a response on these findings, but unfortunately they declined to comment.

See our comparison of the most stolen cars below to see what’s changed from 2019 to 2020.

The UK’s most stolen cars: 2019 vs 2020

Not much has changed since 2019. The top 9 stolen cars revealed in our report last year are still on the list, in the same order. Only one car has dropped out of 2019’s list of the top 10 most stolen cars, the Audi A3. In 2019, 458 A3s were subject to theft. However, this has now decreased by half, with 229 stolen in 2020. The 10th spot has now been taken by the Nissan Qashqai in 2020.

Make & ModelCars Stolen in 2019Cars Stolen in 2020How Many More Cars Stolen?
1. Ford Fiesta 2384 3392 1008
2. Land Rover Range Rover 1917 2881 964
3. Volkswagen Golf 1331 1975 644
4. Ford Focus 1200 1587 387
5. BMW 3 Series 1042 1435 393
6. Vauxhall Astra 836 1126 290
7. Land Rover Discovery 791 900 109
8. Mercedes-Benz E Class 612 766 154
9. BMW 5 Series 678 678 172
10 Audi A3 (2019), Nissan Qashqai (2020) 458 229 229 fewer cars stolen

The Ford Fiesta is still the UK’s number 1 stolen car, with 1,008 more subject to theft in 2020 than in 2019. According to Auto Trader, the Fiesta is also the UK’s best-selling car, but it appears to be in demand for thieves, too.

In response, Fiesta and Focus are the first Ford models to pioneer new keyless entry fobs with sleep mode to protect against being hacked. Furthermore, Ford has launched an after-market offer to existing new Fiesta and Focus drivers to upgrade their fobs.

When taking a deeper dive into the data, although the Fiesta ranks number 1, the thefts per vehicle on the road statistics tell a different tale. Premium brands such as Land Rover, Range Rover, BMW and Mercedes all have a higher rate of theft per 1,000 vehicles.

Land Rover Range Rover has the most thefts per vehicle on the road

Using the How Many Left database, we investigated the number of cars licensed on UK roads and compared it to the DVLA’s statistics. When looking at the number of cars stolen per 1,000 licensed vehicles (excluding SORN vehicles), the Land Rover Range Rover ranks as number 1.

For every 1,000 Land Rover Range Rovers on our roads, 7 are stolen. The Ford Fiesta also moves to 9th place, with only 2 cars stolen for every 1,000 licensed.

Make & Model Cars Stolen in 2020 Cars Licensed (excl. SORN) Number of Cars Stolen per 1000 Licensed Vehicles
1. Land Rover Range Rover 2881 422326 7
2. BMW X5 551 99407 6
3. Mercedes-Benz GLC 342 70700 5
4. Land Rover Discovery 900 277764 3
5. Mercedes-Benz E Class 766 256261 3
6. BMW 5 Series 678 240890 3
7. BMW 3 Series 1435 576555 2
8. Ford Kuga 620 260357 2
9. Ford Fiesta 3392 1550394 2
10. Volkswagen Golf 1975 1046896 2
11. Audi A6 268 147517 2
12. Ford Focus 1587 1196959 1
13. Vauxhall Astra 1126 876291 1
14. Nissan Qashqai 655 551610 1
15. Fiat 500 358 373898 1

3 in 4 stolen vehicles aren’t returned – the highest figure in 10 years

According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report on vehicle-related theft, 3 in 4 (72%) of stolen vehicles aren’t returned to the owner, which is the highest figure of unreturned vehicles since 2010.

We investigated the ONS data further to see what thieves look for when they’re targeting your car – here are 5 ways to prevent theft, based on our findings.

5 ways to prevent theft – according to how thieves target your car

1. Keyless car theft is the most popular method of entry – invest in a signal blocker

The ONS report shows that in most vehicle thefts (36%), the offender manipulates the signal from a remote locking device. Keyless car theft only takes 20-30 seconds, according to the Master Locksmiths Association, so invest in a signal blocker to prevent this.

2. Keep your car in a locked garage – 76% of thefts happen in the street

In 2020, 76% of vehicle-related theft happened at home, either in the street or a semi-private area. Decrease your risk by parking in a locked garage.

3. 80% of thefts happen in the evening or at night, so park in a well-lit area

If you don’t have a garage and need to park away on the street at home, keep your car in a well-lit area, since the majority of vehicle-related thefts (80%) take place during the evening or at night.

4. Most thieves target handbags and jewellery – don’t put valuables on show

The most common item stolen in vehicle-related theft is valuables (39%), which includes ‘jewellery, handbags, briefcases, shopping bags, purses, wallets, cash, cheque books, credit cards, clothes and documents’, according to the ONS. Remove these from your car, or at least put them in your glove box or the boot.

5. 1 in 4 thefts happen because the thief has your key – keep it out of sight

The second most common method of entry for vehicle theft is where the offender uses a key or electric fob (24%). Always keep your key out of sight, as thieves could easily take it – for example, if you leave it next to an open window at home. Don’t keep your key near the front door either, as thieves are more likely to grab the first valuable item they see, if you accidentally leave your door unlocked.

Find more automotive news and research in the Rivervale Leasing blog. If you drive a lease car, don’t forget to read our tips on what to do if your vehicle is stolen.


We sent a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA requesting all vehicles which have been subject to theft between January 2020 and December 2020, broken down by manufacturer and model. The DVLA complied with our request, providing all vehicles notified by the police to the DVLA as stolen between 1 January 2020 and 21 December 2020.

For more motoring news, entertainment and car reviews, check out the rest of the Rivervale Leasing blog. You’ll find top tips on choosing the best tracker to protect your vehicle, plus advice on how to prevent relay theft.

Don’t forget to browse our latest offers online to find your perfect car lease today. Get in touch today on 01273 433 480 or request a callback for a time that is convenient for you!

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