Thieves Think Minivans Are Cool

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

If you believe, well, TTAC, then minivans are “deeply uncool.” The criminal element in Japan begs to differ. Toyota’s HiAce minivan was the most stolen automobile in Japan in 2011, says The Nikkei [sub]. The next most stolen cars in Japan are from Toyota also: The Celsior sedan and the Land Cruiser SUV take the second and third position on the podium of infamy. Let’s investigate …

Most stolen cars 2011


11994 Honda AccordToyota HiAceToyota Lexus RX 400 Hybrid21995 Honda CivicToyota CelsiorBMW M3 Coupe31991 Toyota CamryToyota Land CruiserVW Caravelle T4 2,5 TDI

As the table shows, Japanese cars are the stars on Grand Theft Auto the world over. Thieves in the U.S. seem to have a strange attraction to ancient Japanese iron. In Germany, Lexus is not doing so well, except with the Autodiebe, who improve their green creds by purloining disproportionate numbers of the Lexus RX 400 Hybrid. And what’s that in Germany’s Another minivan of sorts.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, the Aichi prefecture, where Toyota’s head office is located, appears to be a hotbed of criminal activity. It is the prefecture with the most auto thefts in Japan.

(Note: The methodologies of these statistics differ, the results should not be directly compared.)

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4 of 19 comments
  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Jan 28, 2012

    I saw a lot of Toyota Hi-Ace buses in Costa Rica, enough that this might be the single most common vehicle I saw in the touristy areas I visited. I'm surprised at it being called a minivan though, as the ones I saw were as large as a US full-size van with capacity for a dozen passengers plus luggage space. I googled them, and see that they come in two sizes, those I saw in Costa Rica being the longer of the two.

  • 87CE 95PV Type 87CE 95PV Type on Jan 28, 2012

    You bloody idiot, Dodge Caravans are one of the most stolen vehicles in Michigan (maybe it was just Detroit) you do not leave your vehicle unlocked in a city because this happens. My 1995 Voyager was stolen about 6 years ago and luckily we got it back a few weeks later, but now it is locked all the time and I disable it if I am going outside my comfort zone like say overnight to NYC for example.

  • Manic Manic on Jan 28, 2012

    Japan is usually known as very secure, nearly crime-free country. This list is nice and all, but what are the numbers behind it? Does first place in Japan means that 4 of these buses were stolen?

  • SuperACG SuperACG on Jan 31, 2012

    Many of the "old" 90s Japanese cars get stolen for the purpose of committing crimes, and likely the reason why they are so high on the list is the same car getting stolen over and over! Case in point: My uncle had a 1989 Camry (same generation as 1991 Camry mentioned above) that first had the trunk vandalized; he fixed it himself with dealer-parts only to have it vandalized again the next day. Later on it was stolen...repeatedly! I believe it was stolen 5 times one year! He thought it was the same guys going back to his car, because the police always found it abandoned in the same area. He wanted whoever stole it to just keep it! He eventually donated it after it was stolen and crashed. The police towed the front-damaged hulk to his house and dumped it on the driveway.