COMPACT car the Smart ForTwo, the luxury BMW X6 and the Renault Twingo were the three most popular targets of car thieves in France last year, new figures show.
Magazine Auto Plus published its annual list of the criminals' top 50, which is compiled using statisticsfrom 15 insurers, mutelles and banks who between them insure 20 million vehicles in France.
"In general, premium German and French cars share almost all places in the top 50 most stolen cars,” the magazine said, adding that compact sedans and SUVs were among the most popular targets.
The SmartForTwo, which is coveted for the value of its parts and is said to be relatively easy to break into, tops the list for a second year. The BMW X6 is second, despite its sophisticated alarm system, and now has the unwanted distinction of being the luxury 4x4 of choice among criminals.
The Renault Twingo comes in third, followed by two other BMWs, the 1 Series and X5. Thefts of the trendy Citroen DS3 rose 17.9% in 2013, putting the car sixth in the list.
Newer models are equipped with sophisticated electronic shields but, said Auto Plus "these can be too easily disabled or circumvented”.
In November 2013, the magazine revealed that the number of car thefts was rising again after 11 consecutive years of decline. It also named the Bouches-du-Rhône as the car theft capital of France, followed by Val- d'Oise and Oise.
The car thieves' top 10:
1 Smart ForTwo (216 stolen to 10,000 insured)
2 BMW X6 (208)
3 Renault Twingo 1 (180)
4 BMW 1 Series (107)
5 BMW X5 (103)
6 Citroën DS3 (99)
7 Renault Mégane 2 (90)
8 Porsche Cayenne (89)
9 Renault Clio and Mégane 3 (85)
10 BMW 3 series (83).