According to a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Mercedes-Benz was the most frequently stolen luxury car brand in the U.S. between 2009 and 2012. There were 485 thefts of Mercedes C-Class sedans during that period and the E-Class and S-Class models also landed in the bureau’s top-10 list of most-stolen luxury cars. With a starting price of around $35,000, the C-Class is Mercedes’ best-selling model, both in the U.S. and internationally.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 4,384 Mercedes were stolen, nationwide, over the three year period. New York City area and the surrounding areas including Long Island and northern New Jersey hold the dubious distinction as the area with the most Mercedes thefts (over 18 percent) during the three-year period. Los Angeles and Miami were numbers two and three respectively.
California led the nation in the total number of luxury vehicle thefts, with 1,063. In a telephone interview, Los Angeles police spokesman Commander Andrew Smith said, “We have such a car culture here in L.A. There are a lot of high-end motor vehicles. You would expect there to be more stolen vehicles in a place where the population is bigger.” He also pointed out that improvements in vehicle security have resulted in a 50 percent decrease in luxury vehicle thefts since 2005. “Now with chips, computers and alarm systems,” says Smith, “it’s much more difficult to steal a car. The technology has been really helpful for us.”
In an email, Mercedes spokeswoman Donna Boland said, “The more desirable the vehicle, the more attractive the vehicle is to thieves.” She also pointed out that, “A significant number of Mercedes-Benz models that are reported stolen are recovered, some very swiftly, thanks to our mbrace system, which includes a stolen vehicle tracking feature.” Mercedes-Benz’s mbrace is comparable to General Motors Company’s OnStar technology and provides communication and GPS tracking capabilities via the Internet.
The NICB says the BMW 3 Series was the second-most frequently stolen luxury vehicle in the U.S. between 2009 and 2012, with the Nissan Infinity G Series coming in third.
According to the NICB report, stolen luxury vehicles are recovered about 84 percent of the time. The Cadillac CTS had a recovery rate of about 91 percent, but only about 59 percent of stolen Mercedes S-Class sedans are recovered.