The sport utility vehicles made by Daimler’s subsidiary Mercedes-Benz are among the least likely SUVs to be recovered after being stolen, as US thieves dismantle or export them swiftly.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), in its report on thefts of 2011-2013 model years in the last two years (to December 31, 2013), no less than 37% of Mercedes-Benz GL Class SUVs were not recovered, compared to 30% for Cadillac models and less than 15% for the Nissan Rogue or Ford Explorer.
The organized crime targets many luxury vehicles, with carjackers and thieves getting paid $8,000 for a vehicle and middlemen working to load and ship the cars onto containers sent to West Africa, for example.
“There’s a concentration of wealth in that area,” said Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the NICB. “Some of that could be a function of access to ports.”
The New Jersey and New York states have together around 25% of all unrecovered car thefts in the US – with the NCIB report showing the Ford Escape to be the most stolen SUV. Still, 95% of the cars are recovered, followed by Nissan’s Rogue with a percentage of recovery of 87% and by GM’s Cadillac Escalade, which got found in 70% of the cases.