The main reason these cars are hijacked in South Africa

 ·14 Apr 2024

Hijackers in South Africa commonly target Fords, Nissans, Toyotas, and VWs, which are in high demand on the black market across the continent.

This is according to Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann, who told BusinessTech earlier this year that vehicle hijackings are largely a business driven by demand and supply.

For example, While these models have historically been at high risk, the RAV 4 and Toyota Corolla Cross have climbed the high-risk scale, with the Corolla Cross only having been launched in the country in November 2021.

Since then, the crossover has consistently been on the best-selling lists over the course of 2023/24 – selling over 22,000 and earning fourth place on Naamsa’s top 10 list of best-selling cars last year.

It has remained within the top five through most of the first half of 2024. This remains true for other Toyoas (such as the Hilux), VWs (Polos), and Fords (the Ranger).

“Hijackers target specific vehicles for a specific purpose and market. The demand for Toyotas, VWs, Fords, and Nissans remains high on the black market,” he said.

As a result, Bartmann highlighted the most hijacked cars among these brands – based on the Fidelity SecureDrive base for 2023.

According to Fidelity’s latest data, the seven most high-risk models, in no specific order, are:

  • Toyota Fortuner (GD6 and D4D);
  • Toyota Hilux (GD6 and D4D);
  • Toyota Corolla Cross;
  • Toyota RAV 4;
  • VW Polo (especially hatchbacks);
  • Nissan NP200; and
  • Ford Ranger (both double and single cabs).

It has been reported that the Fortuner and Hilux vehicles are stolen mostly for their engines, while the Corolla Cross and RAV4 are primarily taken across the border into neighbouring countries.

This is because these vehicles are well-equipped to handle African roads. Evidence of interest in cars that can manage the harsh road conditions in Africa by criminals was also mentioned by insurer Santam.

Its report noted a shift away from older, low-value vehicles with limited security requirements to more expensive double cabs and SUVs, including Toyota Landcruisers and Prados.

This aligned with the experiences of private security companies such as Fidelity ADT.

According to Fidelity, around 30% of all stolen and hijacked vehicles in the last year were taken across the border from South Africa.

Hotspot areas

In South Africa, the number of car hijackings has been increasing every year, with some provinces experiencing a greater rise in hijackings than others.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) recently presented the latest quarterly crime statistics from October to December 2023.

According to the report, 5,973 cars were hijacked during this three-month period, equivalent to approximately 66 cars being stolen daily.

This figure represents a 6.5% increase from the same period in 2022.

Carjackings are most common in South Africa’s most populated regions, such as Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape.

The top hijacking hotspots for the three most populated provinces are listed below.


  1. Ivory Park
  2. Moroka
  3. Loate
  4. Orange Farms
  5. Eldorado Park

Kwa-Zulu Natal:

  1. Umlazi
  2. Mariannhill

Western Cape:

  1. Philippi East
  2. Harare
  3. Nyanga
  4. Mfuleni
  5. Delft

Read: New driving licence cards for South Africa coming this month

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