The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Rising Parts Costs Drive Vehicle Thefts

March 09, 2018

Research from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows that vehicle parts can bring in about 70% of the full cost of the car. Grapahic courtesy of NICB
Research from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows that vehicle parts can bring in about 70% of the full cost of the car. Grapahic courtesy of NICB

Late-model vehicles are loaded with expensive parts and technology that increase the cost of repairs. Those expensive parts will continue to drive car thefts as criminals steal cars and trucks to strip them and sell the parts on the black market, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Thefts of vehicles in the U.S. rose again last year by more than 4%, according to preliminary 2017 crime data from the FBI. Many of the vehicles that are recovered are missing wheels and rims or other key parts, while ones that are never recovered end up in chop shops where they are quickly dismantled and sold piece by piece.

The NICB looked at the cost of replacement parts for the top 10 stolen 2016 models. Average original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part prices were pulled from a database of more than 24 million vehicle damage appraisals generated for insurance claims from 2016 and 2017. Parts such as bumpers, doors, fenders, hoods and headlights were on the list. Major components like the engine and transmission were not included.

The 2016 Toyota Camry, the most stolen 2016 model in the latest Hot Wheels report, had 15 commonly replaced components valued at nearly $11,000. That’s not including labor. The used market value is near $15,500.

The 2016 Nissan Altima had 14 standard components worth more than $14,000, including a single headlamp assembly valued at more than $1,000. The Altima's used market value is $20,600.

And the 2016 GMC Sierra pickup truck included a $1,100 headlamp and a rear bumper worth more than $1,100. The 20 standard components rang in at more than $21,000, while the vehicle's market value is $28,200.

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