Ram raiders' most-stolen cars revealed

Auto reviewer provides tips on how to prevent these cars from being stolen

Ram raiders' most-stolen cars revealed

Motor & Fleet

By Gabriel Olano

As ram raid thefts continue across New Zealand, an automotive reviewer has listed the most common vehicles stolen by thieves to be used in their ram raids, as well as provided several tips to prevent car theft.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of The Dog and Lemon Guide, said ram raiders usually target cheap cars that are often easier to steal, such as the Toyota Aqua, Nissan Tiida, Mazda Demio and Mazda Atenza.

“Thieves love small, older Japanese second-hand imports,” Matthew-Wilson said. “Car thefts are rare in Japan, so cars like the Mazda Demio don’t have much protection from theft and are easy to start without a key. Car thieves share this information on social media.”

Ram raiders often steal cars and drive them into storefronts to gain access to the items inside the store and make away with them. Police data showed that, for the first half of 2022, ram raids have increased by over 500% compared to the same period in 2018.

To deter ram raiders and other car thieves, Matthew-Wilson shared his motto, which is “display, delay and annoy”.

For the display part, Matthew-Wilson advised car owners to park their cars in well-lit, public places. If parking the car on the home driveway, owners should make sure there’s a security light, which makes it easier to notice if someone is breaking into the car. Removing any valuables from inside the car is also important, to avoid catching the attention of thieves.

To delay potential car thieves, Matthew-Wilson suggested owners of vulnerable cars fit a kill switch, which is a hidden switch, operated by the driver, that cuts off the power that the vehicle needs to start. This will make it hard for a thief to get the car started and drive off with it. However, these switches must be installed by an auto electrician to ensure they work properly.

While steering locks can be removed by a determined thief with a hacksaw, Matthew-Wilson said they are still helpful.

“Any steering lock will delay the thief and may be noisy to remove, so these locks are a lot better than nothing,” he said. “Time is the enemy of car thieves. The longer the thief is delayed, the greater the chance he’ll be seen and caught. That’s why any strategy to delay a thief, such as a chain across your driveway, can be a highly effective deterrent."

To annoy a car thief, Matthew-Wilson raised a novel idea – install an alarm with the siren pointing inside the car instead of outside.

“You can get a DIY alarm for $30 and install it yourself,” he said. “The loud alarm siren will blast anyone who climbs into the vehicle. Sitting inside a vehicle with a blasting alarm is not pleasant and draws attention to the thief.”

If going away on a holiday, car owners can also ask a mechanic for guidance in removing the car’s battery.

“If your vehicle has ordinary locks that can be opened with a key, get a mechanic to remove the vehicle’s battery,” Matthew-Wilson said. “Without a battery, a vehicle can’t be driven – it’s as simple as that. Don’t try this on a car that can only be unlocked by an alarm remote, because without a battery you’re not going to be able to unlock the car when you get home. Also, be cautious removing the battery yourself, because the vehicle’s computers will be reset when you reconnect the battery, which could cause minor problems.”

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!