13 cars that get hijacked the most in South Africa in 2024

 ·7 Jul 2024

Over the course of last year and the first half of 2024, security groups and insurers have highlighted over 10 vehicle brands and models in the crosshairs of hijackers across South Africa.

Data from the South African Police Services (SAPS) shows that 66 cars are hijacked every day, representing an increase of 34% over pre-pandemic levels.

Around half of all hijackings occur in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, at about 14% each.

However, these statistics are only for hijackings involving some sort of violence or coercion against the driver. Total vehicle thefts are around 10,000 per quarter or about 40,000 annually.

Data from the South African Police Services (SAPS) aligns with Fidelity Services Group’s experience, which further noted at the beginning of 2024 that its data indicated that a spike in hijackings would occur in the first half of 2024.

Regarding the most popular cars among hijackers, Fidelity noted earlier this year that vehicle hijackings are largely a business driven by demand and supply.

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

While cars from these brands 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 2024—selling over 22,000 and earning fourth place on Naamsa’s top 10 list of best-selling cars last year, and ranking five just last month, with 1,578 units sold.

However, other stakeholders, such as Tracker and insurer Naked, have warned that hijackers target cars built for Africa’s roads, which is why 4x4s are often the target.

Additionally, Naked founder Ernie North added that the availability of parts significantly influences a vehicle’s attractiveness to thieves.

This is a big part of why Toyota is especially targeted, given its popularity across Africa and the availability of its parts.

The latest reports from Fidelity and other stakeholders list the following 13 vehicles (listed in alphabetic order) as high-risk for hijacking in South Africa in 2024.

  • BMW 3 Series;
  • Ford Ranger;
  • Hyundai i20;
  • Nissan NP200;
  • Toyota Corolla Cross;
  • Toyota Corolla;
  • Toyota Etios;
  • Toyota Fortuner (GD6 and D4D);
  • Toyota Hilux (GD6 and D4D);
  • Toyota Prados;
  • Toyota Land Cruisers;
  • Toyota RAV 4; and
  • VW Polo (especially hatchbacks).

However, while these cars are listed as having a higher risk of being targeted by criminals, no vehicle can guarantee complete immunity from theft or hijacking attempts.

New Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Fidelity confirmed that approximately 30% of all stolen and hijacked vehicles last year were taken across the border into neighbouring countries.

This came into focus as recently as this week (4 July 2024). The SAPS announced that it had received information about a syndicate that allegedly hijacked and stole vehicles from South Africa and transported them to Eswatini.

The information led the team to a house in Kibler Park, south of Johannesburg, where four vehicles were recovered.

These cars included a Toyota Fortuner that was reportedly hijacked in Jeppe, an Isuzu bakkie that was reportedly hijacked in Heidelberg, a BMW that was tampered with, and a Land Rover Discovery.

In addition to these 4×4 models, Tracker and Fidelity noted hijackers are increasingly targeting delivery vehicles and trucks for the cargo – particularly the Hyundai H100s.

“Regrettably, crime aimed at online deliveries now prove highly lucrative, whether the objective is acquiring the delivered goods, seizing cash or devices carried by drivers, or commandeering the delivery vehicle,” Tracker said.

In criminal circles, cargo is now considered more valuable and desirable than the transportation vehicle itself, thus the escalation in opportunistic business vehicle hijackings.

Fidelity advises the public to always be aware of their surroundings and look out for any vehicles that may be following them.

If you suspect that you are being followed, you should drive to the closest police station immediately or at least to a busy centre where there are other people around.

Do not offer any resistance during a hijacking. Remember that perpetrators are always armed and would not hesitate to fire when confronted. Additional perpetrators may stand out of view and fire should you fight back.

A hijacking can happen anywhere and at any time. The best response is to be alert and aware of any suspicious activity near you.

Read: Hijackers have changed their ‘business hours’ in South Africa

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