Revealed: The most popular vehicles stolen in Canterbury

A list of the most stolen cars in Canterbury is out.

Toyota Hilux and Landcruisers, and Nissan Pulsars and Terranos have made the top of the list of the most common cars to be reported stolen in the region.

Mazda Demios also make the cut with the vehicle most likely to be targeted by younger people.

The cars with less chance of being stolen are most Ford models, Audis and high-end cars like Teslas.

Canterbury currently holds the highest number of car thefts across the whole country.

More than 366 cars have been stolen in the region in the past 5 years, an average of 73 a year.

Christchurch Detective Senior Sergeant Damon Wells said the reason brands like Toyota and Nissan are the most common cars to be stolen is because there are thousands of them around, so selling the vehicle is a lot easier.

“If someone steals a rare car and attempts to sell it or its parts, the market is a lot smaller, and it’s more likely to be noticed as stolen”.

Wells said the number of car thefts have been consistent over the past four years, with the only exception in 2020 when Covid-19 hit.

About 28 cars have been stolen so far this year.

Over the past four months, Canterbury police have arrested and charged three groups of people who were targeting and stealing Toyotas, Nissans and other 4WD vehicles.

One person arrested is being charged for 15 separate thefts.

The spate of thefts come as catalytic converters, or cat converters, are in hot demand for valuable metal components, with thieves removing the emission-cleaning devices from beneath cars.

The craze prominent overseas has now spread to New Zealand, with police confirming at least 50 thefts in Canterbury alone.

Wells said they’re looking at what they can do to reduce the demand for parts because if people stealing cars can’t make a profit, they will likely stop.

He said there’s a big focus on prevention as there’s only a 50 per cent chance a car will be found once it’s stolen.

Police recommend using a steering lock, which is visible from the outside of the car, having it in a garage off the street, or having an operating car alarm.

“People can also purchase GPS locators for their car, making it easier for Police to locate a stolen car.”

Vehicles can remain in the police system as stolen for years until they are found.

The longest a car to be stolen and returned to its original owner in Canterbury is 12 years.

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