The Cadillac Escalade EXT is the newer-model vehicle car thieves are most likely to steal, according to a study released on October 18 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The EXT's cousin — the SUV model — was the newer vehicle most likely to be stolen last year, the study showed, but fell to third this year. The Nissan Maxima finished second on the list for vehicles made between 2001-2003. The institute calculated which newer vehicles are most likely to be stolen by looking at theft claims per 1,000 insured vehicles from model years 2001 to 2003. The Escalade EXT had a claim rate of 20.2. The lowest-ranking vehicles -- the Buick LeSabre, Buick Park Avenue and Ford Taurus station wagon -- had claim rates of 0.5. The Maxima's theft rate went up after the company began installing expensive, high-intensity headlights as standard equipment in 2002, the institute said. A design change may cut down on theft rates for the Maxima. The 2004 Maxima has headlights that won't fit into earlier models, so the theft rate may go down because thieves won't be trying to steal the headlights to put on older models. The institute's study is distinguishable from some other stolen vehicle lists because it tracks the most "targeted" newer vehicles, not the stolen vehicles of all vintages, Hazelbaker said. The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Honda Civic routinely rank at the top of those lists. Most Stolen Vehicles Theft claims per 1,000 insured, Average payment Cadillac Escalade EXT 20.2 $14,939 Nissan Maxima 17.0 $4,126 Cadillac Escalade SUV 10.2 $15,703 Dodge Stratus 8.3 $5,483 Dodge Intrepid 7.9 $5,394 Average All Vehicles 2.5 $5,928 Least Stolen Vehicles Saturn LW station wagon 0.7 $2,075 Buick Rendezvous 0.7 $1,601 Buick Park Avenue 0.5 $5,098 Ford Taurus station wagon 0.5 $4,920 Buick LeSabre 0.5 $3,201
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