Summer is a hot time for vehicle theft and there's a new name at the top of the list of models that are the favorite target for rip off artists.
The Ford F-250 Super Duty crew-cab with four-wheel drive has replaced the Cadillac Escalade as the most stolen vehicle according to two reports by the Highway Loss Data Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Ford F-250 is followed by the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Avalanche 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Ford F-350 and Cadillac Escalade on the HLDI's most-stolen list covering 2010 through 2012 models.
In a statement to Edmunds.com Matt Moore, vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute said, "General Motors has put a lot of effort into new anti theft technology, so that may help explain the decline in the Escalade's theft rate. On the other hand, sales of the Escalade have fallen in recent years, so there may be less of a market for stolen Escalades or Escalade parts."
Kelli Felker, a Ford spokeswoman tells Edmunds, "Since the 1990s, Ford has offered a standard SecuriLock feature that helps prevent vehicles from being started without keys that have specially coded computer transponder chips. Ford continually monitors the performance of its vehicles and is confident locking mechanisms work properly in all of our vehicles. But, like any lock, thieves can overcome them."
In a separate report the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found The Dodge Charger was the most stolen vehicle followed by the Mitsubishi Galant and the Cadillac STS.
Safety regulators say July and August are the worst months for vehicle thefts in the United States with one happening every 44 seconds. NHTSA says more than 40 percent of motor vehicle theft incidents are due to mistakes by drivers such as leaving keys inside.