Sadly, it is anything but news that Defenders in the UK are a prime target for theft, with regular reports of entire vehicles disappearing, as well as others being stripped of their valuable and easily removed body panels, such as doors and bonnets.
The latest development in this saga is that a UK-based stolen vehicle recovery firm Tracker has, for the first time, included Defender on its list of top ten stolen and recovered vehicles (published the since 2011). The figures for 2016 put Defender at number 9 on the list, edging out the BMW 5 Series for the dubious honor. The Audi RS4 and Q7 have both dropped off the list, replaced by the Defender and the BMW M3 which is now in the number three spot. The Range Rover Sport and BMW X5 have occupied the top two spots for two years running, with the Sport topping the list in 2015 and the X5 in 2016.
Tracker reports a stunning 57% increase in Defender thievery, confirming that the end of Defender production and the associated media attention has created a market frenzy that is unlikely to subside.
Andy Barrs, head of the Police Liaison group at Tracker, said: “The fact that we have seen the number of Defender thefts double this year compared to 2015 shows just how popular these cars have become, particularly since they are no longer in production, making them a major target for organised car thieves.”
“Additionally, Land Rover Defenders are popular second cars meaning they are often parked on driveways or stored in garages most of the time, making them sitting targets for thieves.”
While we haven’t seen this type of increase in the US, there have been isolated reports of thefts in the online communities, and with rising values, that is also unlikely to change. As UK- and ROW-market vehicles and parts continue to make their way onto our shores, it is imperative that stateside owners protect themselves by taking steps to ensure that those items are from legitimate sources. Additionally, it may be worth considering the addition of a stolen vehicle recovery system to your Defender, or other Land Rover vehicle.
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