Keyless car theft is at an all-time high with premium vehicles a particular target, while keyless van theft is also on the rise.

Analysis of theft data recorded by stolen vehicle recovery organisation, Tracker, reveals that 92% of the cars it recovered last year were stolen without using the keys.

That is an increase from 2018’s figure which stood at 88% and, said Tracker, was a “worrying increase” of 26% compared with four years ago (66%).

Previously, Tracker has also warned of an increase in keyless van thefts with its data revealing that 82% of models recovered were stolen without the owner’s keys – up by nearly 100% compared to 2016 (44%).

Tracker’s data reveals that the Range Rover Sport was the number one choice for thieves in 2019. It was followed by the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Range Rover Vogue, Land Rover Discovery, BMW X6, Range Rover Evoque, BMW 3 Series, Range Rover Autobiography and Mercedes E Class.

Premium vehicles are frequently stolen to order by organised criminal groups. The cars are often shipped abroad, predominantly to Eastern Europe and North Africa. However, said Tracker, cars at the lower end of the market remained a target and reportedly they include the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Golf.

Thatcham Research, the motor insurers’ automotive research centre, last year launched a security rating for keyless entry car models and how they performed against relay theft.

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