NICB: Car Thefts on the Rise Due to Expensive Parts

February 15, 2018

If you own a late model car or truck, and you’ve been in a wreck, you may still be shaking your head over the repair bill. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says today’s vehicles are loaded with expensive parts and technology that increase the costs of repairs, even in what may be considered a minor accident.

And those expensive parts will continue to drive car thefts as criminals steal cars and trucks to strip them and sell the parts on the black market.

Thefts of vehicles in the U.S. rose again last year by more than four percent, according to preliminary 2017 crime data from the FBI. Many of the vehicles that are recovered are missing wheels and rims or other key parts, while ones that are never recovered end up in chop shops where they are quickly dismantled and sold piece by piece.

The NICB looked at the cost of replacement parts for the top 10 stolen 2016 models. Average original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part prices were pulled from a database of over 24 million vehicle damage appraisals generated for insurance claims from 2016 and 2017. Parts such as bumpers, doors, fenders, hoods and headlights were on the list. Major components like the engine and transmission were not included.

The 2016 Toyota Camry, the most stolen 2016 model in our latest “Hot Wheels” report, had 15 commonly replaced components valued at nearly $11,000. That’s not including labor.

2016 Camry Part Component Avg OEM Part Cost Total
Bumper cover $230 $230
Headlamp assembly $287 $575
Bumper cover $304 $304
Grille assembly $265 $265
Fender $217 $434
Rear body panel $442 $442
Hood $544 $544
Door shell $797 $1,593
Fender liner $109 $218
Tail lamp assembly $169 $338
Trunk lid $707 $707
Wheel, alloy $411 $1,642
Door shell $717 $1,434
Quarter panel $856 $1,712
Body side molding $128 $257
Total Cost of Parts $10,695

The 2016 Nissan Altima had 14 standard components worth more than $14,000, including a single headlamp assembly valued at more than $1,000.

2016 Altima Part Component Avg OEM Part Cost Total
Bumper cover $419 $419
Bumper cover $393 $393
Fender $363 $726
Headlamp assembly $1,013 $2,027
Combo lamp assembly $237 $473
Rear body panel $480 $480
Hood $631 $631
Trunk lid $697 $697
Wheel, alloy $436 $1,745
Quarter panel $886 $1,772
Door shell $875 $1,751
Door shell $811 $1,623
Outer panel $359 $717
Outer panel $391 $782
Total Cost of Parts $14,236

And the 2016 GMC Sierra pickup truck included a $1,100 headlamp and a rear bumper worth more than $1,100. The 20 standard components rang in at more than $21,000. Door shell $721 $1,710

2016 GMC Sierra Part Component Avg OEM Part Cost Total
Headlamp assembly $1,144 $2,289
Step pad $246 $246
Body side molding $81 $163
Wheel, alloy $593 $2,373
Fender $593 $1,185
Bumper assembly $1,133 $1,133
Grille $761 $761
Rear bumper $824 $824
Outer panel $630 $630
Tail lamp assembly $408 $817
Bumper $995 $995
Fender liner $94 $1,990
Hood $855 $855
Door shell $721 $1,710
Tail gate $724 $724
Grille assembly $752 $752
Door shell $775 $1,550
Windshield $412 $412
Outer panel $509 $824
Outer panel $549 $1,099
Total Cost of Parts $21,332

“For the professional theft ring, stealing and stripping vehicles for parts has always been a lucrative business,” said NICB Senior Vice President and COO Jim Schweitzer. “On today’s cars and trucks, the parts are often worth more than the intact vehicle and may be easier to move and sell. That’s why we see so many thefts of key items like wheels and tires and tailgates…there’s always a market for them.

“We support law enforcement efforts, especially the auto theft task forces that focus on these kinds of theft rings. Shutting down a theft ring and a chop shop can have a major impact on reducing thefts in a community.”

Source: NICB