THE HOLDEN COMMODORE, the best-selling large sedan in Australia, is officially the most popular car for Australian thieves. That's not according to any thieving spokesperson, of course, but new insurance claims data released by AAMI shows that the numbers don't lie.
An analysis of claims figures, undertaken by the insurer, shows that various generations of the Commodore accounted for 62 percent of the top 15 vehicles stolen from AAMI customers in 2008 - with three Commodore models in the top five.
The VT Commodore proved to be the most popular, with four of the nine models listed being different trim levels of the VT model.
One Ford model made the list - the 1999 AU Falcon Forte - along with three Hyundai Excel Sprint models (1996, 97, 99), the 2002 Toyota Rav 4 Cruiser and the 1999 Nissan Pulsar SS.
AAMI Corporate Affairs Manage Mike Sopinski said it wasn't surprising that 1990s makes and models featured so prominently on the list, nor was the prevalence of Holden Commodores.
"Vehicle theft has dropped remarkably over the past 10 years, primarily because of advances in technology and theft deterrents such as engine immobilisers increasingly a standard feature on new cars," Sopinski said.
"Commodores are not the vehicle of choice for car thieves because they're easier to steal - if anything they are a victim of their own popularity with professional thieves seeking to cash in on strong demand for spare parts."
Mr Sopinski said that efforts to make cars harder to steal, through active and passive theft deterrents, was paying dividends with insurance, police and other industry statistics showing a dramatic decline in car theft.
"National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council figures suggest car theft in Australia has almost halved in the past five years."
"At a very basic level, drivers can be doing a lot more to keep their car safe and secure, such as parking in well-lit visible places, always locking doors and windows, and keeping personal items like sunglasses, handbags and portable music devices hidden from view," Mr Sopinski said.