What Puts your Car on the Hijackers’ Wanted List?

A recent report released by Business against Crime South African entitled “The profile of a wanted vehicle” was recently shared with the Automobile Association. The report gives valuable insight into exactly what it is that makes a car more likely to be on the hijack hit list.

“When considering buying a new vehicle, it may not be a bad idea to consider these facts. Although this may not influence your final decision, it will help you to keep cogniscent of what hijackers out there are looking for,” says the AA.

In South Africa, vehicle theft is often associated with high levels of violence and a low recovery rate of 43% for stolen and hijacked vehicles. These statistics suggest that the majority of vehicle thefts are arranged through organised crime syndicates and not conducted by fly by night joy riders looking for a thrill.

The South African motor vehicle market accounts for the disposal of approximately 50% of stolen and hijacked vehicles. Other stolen vehicles may be disposed of through exportation to other countries, 30%, and the remaining 20% going to the second-hand parts market.

Older vehicles between seven and 21 years old are at higher risk of theft while vehicles between one and four years are at the highest risk of robbery. Mini buses top the ratings for cars that are targeted for theft or robbery, with sedans being the most frequent target for criminals. Entry level and cheaper vehicles were also found to be high risk, as well as vehicles with a high market volume.

Taking all the statistics available to us into consideration, it is still prudent to remember that, irrespective of the age, type or market volume and brand characteristics of a vehicle play a vastly important role in the risk profile of a vehicle. Factors that influence the risk profile of vehicles include the effectiveness of anti-theft devices, the role of electronic security devices and the age of the vehicle, desirability of the vehicle, intended markets and the marking of vehicles. Some vehicles are standard fitted with micro-dots and due to the efficacy of the micro-dotting technology which makes it impossible to hide the original identity or a vehicle, this makes them less desirable to criminals.

Typical guidelines to consider when buying a vehicle and consider the risk you are letting yourself in for are simple to follow and could prevent a big mistake. Never buy a vehicle without the eNatis registration or a vehicle that is unlicensed. Check the information, especially the VIN, engine number, make, model and colour on both the registration certificate and license disc. Any difference in information between the two certificates may indicate fraud.

Ensure that your new vehicle has a good quality security device installed and consider installing a tracking device, even for cheaper and used vehicles. It is a fact that more than 75% of all stolen and hijacked vehicles fitted with recovery devices are recovered. It is advisable to have your car microdotted, you can insist on having this done at the manufacturer, see for more information. 

Consumers may also verify the information of a vehicle simply by logging on to where a peace of mind Autocheck may be purchased at a cost of R92, available to all consumers. This check raises any discrepancies with the vehicle’s VIN and engine numbers as well as the date of manufacture and the vehicle’s make as well as picking up any security alerts raised from the vehicle’s original owner.

The Auto Check report will also include an SAPS indicator which tells you whether the car has been reported stolen or is wanted in connection with an investigation into an alleged crime. This SAPS information was previously only available to authorised motor dealers.

Lastly, and simply, always ensure that the dealer you are buying from is reputable; it is a good idea to ensure that they are AA Quality Assured members which will ensure your dealer is sound.

Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1126

Roadside assist | Tools & guides | Travel | Legal | Sitemap