For the sixth straight year, the Camry was the vehicle auto thieves went after the most in 2002, while the '89 model in particular topped the list for the fourth time in five years, according to Chicago-based CCC Information Services Inc., an insurance industry tracker of trends in theft and vehicle damage.
In positions two and three: the 1991 Camry and the 1990 Camry. The 2000 Honda Civic and the 1994 Honda Accord rounded out the top five.
Minivans and SUVs have seen a 10% increase in thefts since 2000, though none broke into the top 25 -- a list dominated by passenger cars and pickup trucks, the firm said in a report being released publicly today.
Of the four domestic vehicles among the top 25, all are pickup trucks -- two Chevrolets and two Fords. The 1994 Chevrolet C1500 4x2 pickup was the most stolen vehicle from a U.S. automaker, coming in at No. 6 on the list.
Overall, however, thefts that resulted in the total loss of a vehicle declined 3% last year, according to CCC, which provides software and information services to insurers and repair shops.
"Vehicle theft historically follows consumers' choices, which is reflected in the popularity of imports and the gaining popularity of minivans and SUVs," said Mary Jo Prigge, CCC's president of sales and service.
Toyota and Honda models made up 20 of the top 25 most-stolen vehicles, with Accords from various years grabbing 11 of those spots.
The Camry and Accord have been perennial sales leaders for the last decade and can be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles.
The models also tend to have interchangeable parts, making them more attractive to thieves.
At the same time, thefts of full-size models and "muscle cars" such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro continued to slide last year.
For example, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme has fallen from No. 7 in 1997 to No. 40 in the most recent survey.
Toyota spokesman John McCandless said the company takes no pride in topping the list, but the Japanese automaker has issues with the way CCC measures car theft -- based only on stolen vehicles never recovered, or stripped to the point of being a total loss.
He said the report is skewed for cars with durability and isn't a representative sampling because it excludes joy rides, among other things.
"Every time we redesign the Camry, we make it better able to deter theft," McCandless said. "But nothing is completely theft-proof. You can always load it on a flatbed and tow it away."
Honda has said the Accord would be in the middle of the pack if the rankings were weighted to show the proportion of stolen cars to total sales of that model.
Trends in stolen vehicles vary among states.
Japanese brands dominated New York and California thefts, while pickup trucks were the most popular choice in Texas.
In Michigan, home to the top domestic automakers, imports didn't appear on the most-stolen list until No. 63.
CCC determines its list of most stolen vehicles by analyzing total losses submitted to it by more than 350 property and casualty insurers in North America.
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Most-stolen vehicles of 2002:
* 1989 Toyota Camry
* 1991 Toyota Camry
* 1990 Toyota Camry
* 2000 Honda Civic Si
* 1994 Honda Accord EX
* 1994 Chevrolet C1500 4x2
* 1995 Honda Accord EX
* 1988 Toyota Camry
* 1994 Honda Accord LX
* 1996 Honda Accord LX
* 1997 Ford F150 4x2
* 1996 Honda Accord EX
* 2001 Ford F150 4x2
* 1995 Honda Civic EX
* 1991 Honda Accord LX
* 1999 Honda Civic Si
* 1990 Honda Accord EX
* 1995 Honda Accord LX
* 1992 Honda Accord LX
* 1995 Acura Integra GS-R
* 1997 Honda Accord LX
* 1997 Chevrolet C1500 4x2
* 1995 Honda Civic DX
* 1992 Honda Accord EX
* 1987 Toyota Camry
Source: CCC Information Services Inc.