Time and again, I like to tell people how great it is to live in California. You can ski in the mountains and visit the beach on the same day. State and national parks abound and are nearby. Microbreweries are not hard to find. The automotive scene is excellent, mainly since we have Pebble Beach.
But there are things they don't tell you. Like the high cost of living. The taxes. There's always road work being performed on the highways. And the fact that 8 of the 10 cities that rank the highest for car theft are in California.
However, there are some cars it's not in a thief's best interest to steal, mainly because it will end in ridicule and an immense loss of wasted effort. You'll be better off taking Silverados and 1990s Accords. (Yes thieves, I wrote this list for you.)
Author's Note: If you actually do buy one of these cars because of this list, I take no responsibility if it's stolen. Except for the last one. I want to meet the crazy person who bought it and the person who was insane enough to steal it. And before anyone asks why I didn't include cars with OnStar or other tracking systems, this list caters towards both sophisticated thieves (the ones who steal modern S-Classes) and the ones you see on Bait Car.
Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ
Hell hath no fury like Toyobaru owners. Like NA Miata owners, Toyobaru owners are likely to know their cars down to the last detail instead of focusing on the car's lack of power. I wouldn't be surprised if they memorized the compression ratios or the suspension spring rates. As a result, if their car is stolen, an owner will go to the ends of the earth to find the car.
Most importantly, Toyobaru owners are constantly on forums. Chances are they know exactly what aftermarket parts they have on the car along with any serial number you can possibly think of. So good luck to thieves attempting to sell those expensive parts to the chop shops. And forum people help people track down their cars, and have sometimes been very successful.
On the bright side, Smarts are very easy to hide and surprisingly maneuverable at low speeds in the city. So they can get through traffic better than say, a Chrysler 300. But they have their quirks. For instance, the maddening transmission. Lack of space to stash other ill-gotten gains. Not being able to look good for the ladies.
And let's talk about when the fortwo owner gives up hope and thieves have to make money from it. Everything in that car is so packed together that key parts will certainly be damaged when ripping it off. And when dealers have a difficult time even giving them away, a thief won't be able to sell it. Meaning stealing a fortwo will have been in vain.
Any Electric Car That's Not A Tesla
For once, range anxiety is a good thing. Steal a Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i-MIEV and there's no telling how much charge is left in the battery. At full throttle, which significantly depletes the charge, a thief cannot get far, especially if a police chase ensues. But even recharging the cars takes a while, unlike filling up with gas.
However, if a thief does steal an EV, he or she will learn very quickly that parts are difficult to sell, largely because there's little demand for them. The (heavy) battery may be worth something, but good luck attempting to get it off the car and then selling it. On the bright side, electric car owners are next to guaranteed that their cars won't be swiped (unless it's a Tesla).
I usually forget that the Journey exists, and apparently, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, so do the thieves. That's because the 4WD Dodge Journey had the lowest claim rate for theft, which I personally find surprising, since many of them live in rental fleets. And let's face it, aren't car thieves supposed to target rental cars?
Once again, thieves will have a difficult time getting rid of the Journey, just like the car rental companies that get them to placate customers who don't want a minivan and sales managers who needed to meet their numbers for the quarter. Not to mention families who realized after the fact how little cargo room there is.
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
A Murano CrossCab theft will create the one instance where the thief will be more angry than the owner. In fact, the CrossCab owner will be ecstatic, mainly because they won't have to make anymore payments on the thing and endure the stares from neighbors. They'll wish the thing was stolen and use the insurance money to buy any other convertible, which will most likely be a Chrysler 200, since CrossCab values have depreciated quite a bit.
On the other hand, the thief will be miserable, as he or she should very well be. Because other motorists want to know who would drive a such a thing and will constantly look into the CrossCab. Since they watch the evening news just to look at the mugshots, the criminal will be caught in a heartbeat, becoming one good thing that the Murano CrossCabriolet has accomplished for society.
What other vehicles will get thieves to think twice before stealing them?
Satish Kondapavulur runs Clunkerture, named because "Clunker.com" was $82 at auction and would've taken 30% out of the balance of his Eagle Vision for LeMons fund. In between contemplating cross-country runs, he spends much of his time attempting to convince others that his MkV Jetta 2.0T Wolfsburg is indeed a sports sedan.
Photos courtesy respective manufacturers.