Head Restraints: Much Better Than They Used To Be

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TORONTO, Nov. 6, 2003 – For the fourth year in a row, the Hyundai Tiburon (2-door) has the distinction of holding the top spot on Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) top ten list of the country’s most frequently stolen vehicles. This year’s list represents results for 2001 and 2002 models, in cases where at least one thousand of each of the models was insured.

“The 2001 Tiburon did not have an IBC approved theft deterrent system, and Hyundai did not build any 2002 Tiburons”, states Henning Norup, Vice President of Information, Research and Analysis at IBC. “Hyundai recognised that their products were being targeted by thieves, and responded by including a standard IBC approved immobilizer in the Tiburon base and SE models when they redesigned the car for 2003. We expect that this will be the last year the Tiburon occupies top spot for theft frequency.”

Electronic immobilizers are systems that prevent a vehicle from starting unless a specific electronic code is used. IBC, along with vehicle manufacturers, after-market manufacturers, and other interested stakeholders, developed a Canadian standard for automobile theft-deterrent systems that was approved by the Standards Council of Canada in 1998. Many insurance companies provide premium discounts on automobile policies to customers whose vehicles are equipped with an IBC approved, factory-installed or aftermarket immobilizer system.

Since the publication of the Canadian Theft Deterrent Standard in 1998, IBC has successfully spearheaded a program for auto makers to voluntarily introduce effective immobilizers. Currently, eleven vehicle manufacturers participate, resulting in approximately 60 per cent of new vehicles sold in 2003 having compliant systems. At least 10 per cent of vehicles on Canadian roads today have systems meeting the standard.

“Hyundai now needs to include approved immobilizers in their other vehicles as well” says Norup, who notes that another Hyundai product, the Accent 2DR, occupies third spot for theft frequency, up from fourth spot last year. “Thieves know which vehicles have effective theft deterrent systems and those which don’t” notes Norup.

The Subaru Impreza WRX 4DR 4WD holds the dubious distinction of topping the list of ten vehicles with the highest theft claim cost per vehicle. “This sporty and high performance vehicle has proven to be very attractive with thieves partly because it lacks an IBC approved factory installed immobilizer.

Once it’s stolen, it’s not likely to be recovered” notes Norup.

The latest issue of How Cars Measure Up (an annual publication) compares the insurance claim records of the most popular models of cars, passenger vans, SUVs and pickup trucks across the country. “This information can be extremely useful to consumers before they actually buy a car,” Norup says. “The brochure is designed to help consumers understand how theft, collision and other claim costs affect insurance premiums.”

The statistics contained in the brochure are based wholly on actual insurance claims data collected from nearly all automobile insurance companies in Canada. These companies write almost 100% of all automobile insurance in Canada.

“Theft of vehicles (and their components) costs Canadian policyholders some $600 million annually in insurance premiums,” Norup says.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada. IBC is highly regarded as a provider of automobile insurance rating information and a creator of automobile theft-deterrent standards.

Backgrounder

How Cars Measure Up – Top 10 Lists 2001-2002 Vehicle Models

Top 10 – Most frequently stolen vehicles (2001 – 2002 models)
1 HYUNDAI TIBURON 2DR
2 ACURA INTEGRA 2DR
3 HYUNDAI ACCENT 2DR
4 SUBARU IMPREZA WRX 4DR 4WD
5 FORD F350 SUPER DUTY 4WD
6 KIA RIO 5DR
7 DODGE RAM 1500 2WD
8 HONDA PRELUDE 2DR
9 BMW 325Ci/330Ci 2DR
10 BMW 325Ci/330Ci CABRIOLET

Top 10 – Highest theft claim cost per vehicle (2001 – 2002 models)
1 SUBARU IMPREZA WRX 4DR 4WD
2 ACURA INTEGRA 2DR
3 FORD F350 SUPER DUTY 4WD
4 BMW 525i/530i/540i 4DR
5 BMW X5 4DR AWD
6 HYUNDAI TIBURON 2DR
7 CHEV/GMC SILVERADO/SIERRA 3500 4WD
8 CHEV/GMC ENVOY/TRAILBLAZER 4DR 4WD
9 BMW 325Ci/330Ci CABRIOLET
10 FORD F250 SUPER DUTY 4WD