When Chrysler introduced the Dodge Charger for the 1966 model year, it wasn’t an overwhelming hit with consumers. Its second generation, however, produced for model years 1968 through 1970, did strike a sweet spot with buyers looking for a muscular performer wrapped in a fresh and striking exterior. Today’s report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows that the Charger is a clear favorite among car thieves as well.
Who can forget 1968’s big-screen police drama “Bullitt?” Its riveting car chase with Steve McQueen piloting his 1968 Ford Mustang GT (debut HW Classics car) through San Francisco’s asphalt mountains pursuing mob hit men driving a black, 1968 Dodge Charger R/T set the standard.
Chargers went through five design generations from 1968 through 1987 before production ceased. After a 19-year hiatus, the Charger re-appeared for the 2006 model year. This sixth generation version includes the Dodge Charger Pursuit for law enforcement applications. Which sets up an interesting possibility—a Charger Pursuit pursuing a stolen Charger.
NICB reviewed Charger theft data from 1981-2014 and identified 44,453 theft records. Although theft data from 1966 is available, confidence in pre-1981 theft records is low due to the inconsistency in reporting protocols and vehicle identification number (VIN) systems in use prior to 1981. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated standardized VINs beginning with the 1981 model year, that year became the benchmark for reliable data used in all Hot Wheels Classics reports.
The top five years for Charger thefts were 2014 (3,495 thefts), 2011 (2,967), 2010 (2,950), 2009 (2,946) and 2013 (2,931). The five years with the fewest thefts were 2004 (55), 2003 (56), 2002 (71), 2001 (77) and 2000 (101).
The most popular model years for Charger thefts were 2006 (7,309), 2007 (6,059), 2008 (3,526), 2010 (2,737) and 2009 (1,564).
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