Most Stolen Cars NZ 2024: Odds Of Car Theft By Make and Model

Most stolen cars NZ
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Car theft is a big problem in New Zealand. On average, a car is broken into every 21 minutes throughout the country. While car theft isn’t as bad as it was decades ago, it’s still a huge issue in the country. In 2022, the most stolen cars in NZ amounted to 24,416. According to car thieves, car owners make it easy to steal their vehicles.

As we are a gambling site, we’re going to highlight the odds of your car getting stolen in New Zealand from high to low based on the different regions (although we wouldn’t recommend betting on your car getting stolen). We’ll also discuss which car models are stolen the most, what areas have the most thefts, and how you can keep your vehicle safe from thefts. Keep reading to learn more.

Odds of Getting Your Car Stolen: By Region

Any time you leave your car unattended in NZ, there is a risk of vehicle theft. However, some regions are worse than others. Downtown Auckland has the most stolen cars in NZ, with over 1,000 vehicle thefts each year. Southland is the safest area when it comes to car thefts. On average, 1 out of every 2,630 cars are stolen.

There are several factors that go into the odds of getting your car stolen. The region is one big factor. However, the type of car you drive, when you go out, and how you park also play a role. Before we get into what car thieves in NZ are looking for, let’s break down the average number of car theft claims annually for the 10 regions with the most car thefts.

Region No. of Cars Stolen
Downtown Auckland 1105
Maungawhau 376
Papatoetoe 231
Onehunga 225
Takanini 197
Epsom 181
Balmoral 169
Mangere 167
Donegal Park 159
Ormiston 159

So, according to the table, the odds of your car getting stolen in Downtown Auckland are pretty high compared to the rest of the regions.

One of the biggest misconceptions about car thieves is that they target luxurious vehicles. However, this isn’t the case. Most car stolen in NZ were not luxury cars because these models have better security features. Instead, car thieves target older vehicles with fewer (or no) security features.

So, which car models are targeted most frequently in New Zealand?

Based on vehicle theft claims, the most stolen cars NZ are:

1️⃣ Mazda Demia

2️⃣ Mazda Atenza

3️⃣ Nissan Tiida

4️⃣ Subaru Legacy

5️⃣ Mazda Familia

Other vehicle models that are frequently stolen include the Subaru Impreza, Ford Courier, Toyota Hilux, Honda Civic, and Subaru Forester. All of these models are regular cars that you would see in the average middle-class neighbourhood.

Car thieves aren’t experts at breaking into every vehicle on the lot. They don’t look for the most convenient or the most valuable vehicle in the parking lot. The reality is that each individual car thief is familiar with a specific make of vehicle. When they want to pull off a theft, they will target the vehicle models they know. That’s why certain vehicles are targeted more frequently in certain areas. Let’s take a look at what the most frequently stolen vehicle is in each region.

Region Car Brand
Downtown Auckland Nissan Tiida
East Coast Mazda Atenza
West Coast Toyota Hilux
Wellington Mazda Demio
Canterbury Toyota Hilux
Nelson Mazda Hilux
Manawatu Mazda Atenza
Hawke’s Bay Mazda Demio
Southland Mazda Demio
Otago Mazda Demio

When Do Carjackings Happen?

A carjacking can happen any time of the year. Car thieves are relentless and will often keep an eye on their victims to strike when the time is right. That being said, there are times that have been reported where car thefts are more likely to occur.

Time of day

A car thief doesn’t wait until everyone has gone to bed to make a move. Instead, they blend into their surroundings to make themselves look less suspicious. After all, someone lurking around outside a building after midnight is more suspicious than someone being in a public parking lot in the middle of the day. Most car thieves strike around 3 pm, in the middle of the afternoon.

Day of the week

Vehicle thefts occur on a daily basis in New Zealand. There isn’t too much of a shift based on the day of the week. However, insurance motor claims data shows that more auto thefts occur on Saturdays. This could be because public parking areas are seeing more visitors.

In Auckland, roughly 554 cars annually are stolen on Saturdays. Tuesday is the next biggest hit day. On average, 516 cars per year are stolen in Auckland on Tuesdays. However, the number of car thefts per day doesn’t change drastically. Wednesday is the day with the least stolen cars in Auckland, with 456 theft claims in a year.

Month of the year

New year, new car! Maybe not, if the NZ car thieves have you on their radar. Most auto thefts take place in January. However, throughout the years, the month with the most stolen cars does change. Many years ago, May was a hot month for stolen cars. Then it shifted towards the holiday season in December. Over more recent years, January has been the hot month for thefts.

Car Crime and Carjacking: By City

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. There are several areas around this populous city that car thieves are known to target. Let’s take a closer look at where most carjackings occur in NZ hot spots.


There are several areas around the city of Aukland that are hot spots for theft. Many people visit to enjoy shopping and other attractions. When they’ve had their fun, they come back to find their car stolen. These are the areas in the city with the most stolen vehicles.

  • Downtown
  • Hillsborough
  • Onehunga
  • One Tree Hill
  • Mount Eden
  • Cornwall Park


The most stolen cars in NZ, Christchurch occur in the Canterbury region. According to the Christchurch City Council, there have been close to 900 car thefts in Canterbury in the past 6 months.


Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. With so many tourist attractions, this place has become one of the highest cities in the country (besides Auckland) for stolen vehicles. Lower Hutt is one of the worst spots for stolen car crime in the city. On average, close to 100 cars are stolen in this area per year.


Hamilton City was once known for high crime rates, including car thefts. However, over more recent years, that has started to decline. But, you can never be too safe when you bring your vehicle to this city. Areas downtown are still known to get targeted by thieves.


Kiwis were surprised to learn that suburban areas of Tauranga have become targets of car thieves. Neighbourhoods like Bethlehem, the Avenues, and the CBD are seeing more stolen car crimes than in previous years.

Tips On How to Protect Your Car Against Theft

If you drive one of the most stolen cars in NZ, you might be worried that you’re going to be the next target. You don’t have to put your vehicle up for sale. Instead, there are things that you can do to keep your car protected, even if you’re visiting one of New Zealand’s most stolen-from neighbourhoods.

Don’t Invite Thieves In

Believe it or not, most victims of car theft made it easy for their vehicle to get stolen. People think that since they live in a safe neighbourhood or town that they won’t be a victim. They are more trusting of the people in their community so they leave their vehicle unlocked. This is the easiest way to make yourself a target.

As you’re reading this, you might be wondering why someone would go out in public and not lock their car doors. A lot of people think that since they are just running into a store or coffee shop to grab something quickly, they don’t need to inconvenience themselves by locking the door. Some people will even leave their vehicles runnings while they go into the shop for a “quick minute”. A skilled car thief can take your car faster than you can grab a quick coffee or pack of gum to go.

If your car isn’t in your sight at all times, then you need to lock the door. You should also keep your windows up and make sure you don’t leave keys in your vehicle.

Don’t Leave Valuables In Your Vehicle

A lot of cars get broken into because thieves noticed something inside that they wanted. If you’re going into a public area, make sure you don’t bring any valuables with you that you would leave in the car unattended.

In fact, you shouldn’t leave anything that could catch a thief’s eye. Even an empty bag is enough to tempt them. If you are going out and do have stuff in your vehicle that you can’t unload at home or a hotel first, make sure you keep it hidden.

Use Anti-Theft Devices

Thieves tend to target older cars because they don’t have security features. If you drive an older car, you could benefit from investing in some anti-theft devices. These will make it more difficult for a carjacker to take your vehicle. Some of the best items to get for your car to stop thieves are:

  • Steering wheel lock
  • Tire locks
  • Hood locks
  • Car alarm system
  • Tracking system

It’s also recommended to get a Vehicle Identification Number etched into your car’s window. Thieves can’t sell the parts to vehicles with a VIN.

Don’t Park In Hidden Areas

A lot of people think that choosing a hidden area in public parking lots makes them less of a target. However, this just makes things more convenient for the thief. Instead, try to park in an area that’s in direct view of a surveillance camera.

Place A Sticker On Your Vehicle

Car owners with a security system will place a sticker on their vehicle’s window. Thieves hate stickers and the majority of the time will completely avoid cars with any type of informational sticker on them. Placing a sticker on your back window is a good way to deter potential thieves.


New Zealand Police: Crime Statistics Publications

EHINZ – Number of Motor Vehicles – Massey University

AMI – New Zealand’s Top 10 Stolen Cars – AMI Insurance Data

AA Motoring – How Not to Get Your Car Stolen

Canstar – Car Crime: Auckland’s Worst Suburbs

Reader’s Digest – 18 Things Car Thieves Won’t Tell You

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Oliver Jones
Oliver Jones
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Oliver Jones is a seasoned journalist with a specialty in the iGaming sector. With a robust background that marries 11 years in mainstream journalism with 4 years dedicated to the online casino industry, Oliver provides a unique blend of relevant news and insightful analysis.

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