What are NZ’s most stolen cars? Canstar reveals the makes and models preferred by New Zealand car thieves, and how to keep your vehicle safe.

Over the last six months (to 31/05/22), over 4500 cars, motorbikes, trucks, trailers and utes were stolen in NZ. Discard the bikes and trailers and the number is approximately 3100 vehicles, which averages out to about 17 cars and utes nicked every day. But which are the most stolen cars in New Zealand, and how can you stop becoming a car crime victim? Canstar explores:

Most stolen cars in NZ

On the lists of most stolen cars there are always the perennial popular family runabouts. Think the Mazda Atenza and Demio models and the Nissan Tiida. And, looking at the latest NZ Police figures, family cars are the most stolen. The most commonly stolen types of car are station wagons, hatchbacks and saloons:

No. Thefts Type of vehicle
1017 Station Wagons
673 Hatchbacks
862 Saloons
713 Trailers
500 Utes
297 Motorbikes
230 Vans/Trucks
190 Mopeds
39 Sports Cars
8 Convertibles

Toyota Logo

Most stolen car brands in NZ

And of the brands stolen, it’s no surprise that the big names dominate:

Car Brand No. Stolen
Toyota 676
Nissan 470
Mazda 432
Ford 312
Subaru 236
Honda 204
Mitsubishi 167
Holden 162
BMW 109
Suzuki 79

Other brands stolen:

  • Volkswagen (50 stolen)
  • Audi (40 stolen)
  • Isuzu (26 stolen)
  • Mercedes-Benz (25 stolen)
  • Hyundai (19 stolen)

  • Daihatsu (10 stolen)
  • Lexus | Peugeot (8 stolen)
  • Jeep (7 stolen)
  • Jaguar | Kia (6 stolen)
  • Chrysler | Foton | Land Rover (5 stolen)

  • Chery | Chevrolet | Dodge | Great Wall | Mini | Ssangyong | Volvo (3 stolen)
  • Citroen | Porsche (2 stolen)
  • Cadillac | Fiat | Geely | Haval | Maserati | MG | Saab | Skoda (1 stolen)

Toyota Hilux

Most stolen car models in NZ

Tradies’ vehicles are a magnet for thieves, who target tools and work gear. But since utes are usually considered work vehicles, they’re often left off many lists of most stolen passenger vehicles. This is despite the number of utes (especially twin cabs) being used as family wagons. However, looking at the statistics, the top two stolen vehicles in NZ this year are both utes, and by a good measure.

The top 15 makes and models targeted by thieves in the six months to the end of May 2022:

Car Brand/Model No. Stolen
Toyota Hilux 157
Ford Courier 146
Subaru Legacy 110
Mazda Atenza 95
Nissan Tiida 91
Holden Commodore 89
Mazda Demio 84
Subaru Impreza 74
Toyota Aqua 67
Nissan Navara 61
Toyota Corolla 60
Toyota Mark X 58
Ford Falcon 56
Mazda Bounty 55
Suzuki Swift 52

But before you despair about car crime, one important factor links all the car thefts listed above: the age of the cars taken. Pretty much all of the 3100 cars and utes stolen were pre-2010 models: 86%.

Just 10.5% were 2010-2015 models and only a handful (3.5%) were recent 2018+ models.

What this says about the nature of car crime is that new cars with sophisticated security systems are a lot harder to steal, and therefore less of a target for young joyriders.

How to deter car thieves

Of course, if you’re a criminal looking to break into cars, you are going to target places where there are lots of unattended automobiles, and where your presence isn’t going to attract too much attention: think busy car parks. But while the average motorist can’t avoid parking in such places, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of car crime:

  • If you’ve an older car without an immobiliser or alarm use a steering-wheel lock. In fact, a steering-wheel lock is a good deterrent for modern cars, too. As keyless entry systems can be hacked by tech-savvy car thieves
  • Always ensure your car is locked
  • Try to park in a busy area, with surveillance cameras if possible
  • Park in a secure garage overnight, instead of on the street
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car
  • Don’t leave worthless items in your car that could attract thieves – for example, an empty bag or briefcase

Compare Car Insurance With Canstar

Whatever make or model of car you drive, wherever you live, work or park your car, there is always the risk of accident or theft. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’ve the right level of cover at the right cost.

And this is where Canstar can help. Each year we score and rate all the major car insurance companies and their products. Categories rated include Overall Satisfaction, Value for Money and Quality of Service. The grid below shows some of the 5-Star winners in the +50-year-old driver profile from our latest car insurance awards and ratings.

NZ +50-year-old Driver

Star Rating



Further Information

Everyday Plus
Car Comprehensive

See here for our ratings methodology. The table above is an abridged version of our research. For the full results of our latest Car Insurance Ratings and Award, click here.

Compare car insurance

About the author of this page

Bruce PitchersThis report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.

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