AMI insurance data reveals Toyota Aqua is New Zealand's most stolen car

New Zealand has a new popular car amongst criminals, with the Toyota Aqua becoming thieves' vehicle of choice.

AMI Insurance has revealed its data for insurance claims received for vehicle thefts for 2022, with the Japanese hybrid hatchback taking out the top spot for the most stolen car in New Zealand.

The Aqua, also known as the Toyota Prius C, accounts for 11 percent of AMI's vehicle theft claims, despite only making up 1.47 percent of the country's fleet.

The Toyota Aqua pips the Mazda Demio, which now comes in as the second most stolen car, closely followed by the Nissan Tiida. 

Rounding out the top ten are the Mazda Atenza (Mazda 6), Toyota MarkX, Toyota Vitz, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza and Mazda Familia.

If you own a Toyota MarkX - which is making its inaugural entry into the top 10 - then you should be on alert as theft claims have surged in recent years from only 21 claims in 2020 to 441 in 2022 - a 2000 percent increase in just three years.

This pattern is mirrored across the rest of the data, as theft claims soared to new highs in 2022 - up 43 percent on the year prior. 

The surge in theft claims comes despite a COVID-related dip in 2020, where claims dropped from 5502 in 2019 to 4321 a year later. 

Some of New Zealand's most stolen cars.
Some of New Zealand's most stolen cars. Photo credit: Getty Images

AMI's executive general manager of claims Wayne Tippet said the fact thefts are trending upwards again makes it even more important to ensure insurance details are current. 

"Across New Zealand, we received 8492 claims for vehicle thefts in 2022, up 43 percent on the year before, and up 54 percent from 2019," Tippet said.

Tippet said there are some key things Kiwis can do to ensure their car is "less attractive" to thieves. 

This includes, "locking it, removing any valuables, and parking off-street or in a busy, well-lit area. Immobilisers are good, but if your car doesn't have one installed, steering locks are effective deterrents too", Tippet said. 

"I'd also urge people to check the sum insured on their insurance policy is up to date. Second-hand cars are generally holding their value better than they used to, due to supply chain delays, parts shortages, and other factors.

"So, if the worst happens and your car is stolen and written off, you want to make sure that your sum insured is at an appropriate level for your car."

AMI's executive general manager of claims Wayne Tippet
AMI's executive general manager of claims Wayne Tippet Photo credit: Supplied

Auckland is the regional leader and far outstrips other areas of the country for vehicle theft claims, with almost 3000 claims last year. They were well above the runner-up Canterbury, with 1214 claims.

AMI's data showed recovery rates remain high, with 94 percent of all Aquas recovered, 93 percent of Demios and 91 percent of Vitzes, suggesting the majority of cars are "being stolen for joyrides". 

"Virtually all of these cars are recovered, so it's likely they're being stolen for joy rides or to commit other crimes, such as burglaries," Tippet said. 

AMI's tips to help prevent your vehicle being stolen:

  • Where possible, park down a driveway or inside a garage.
  • If there isn't any off-street parking available, try to park your car in a well-lit area.
  • Consider using anti-theft protection measures, such as a car alarm system, immobiliser, steering wheel lock, fuel cut out switch, handbrake lock, or car tracking system.
  • Don't get out of your car and leave the engine running or keys in it, even for a few seconds.
  • Make sure you always lock your car, especially whenever your car is parked and unattended.
  • Don't leave valuables on display.
  • Avoid leaving windows or the sunroof open when you're not in the car.