MANY Ipoh folk are shocked to find out that the car models they own belong in the General Insurance Association of Malaysia’s list of top 10 makes stolen in 2014 and 2015.
The fact that 60 vehicles get stolen everyday in the country was astounding enough, but finding out one owns the preferred model of car thieves really takes the cake.
A homemaker who wished to be known only as Sharene, 51, said her family owns three of the car models listed – Proton Wira, Perodua MyVi and Toyota Vios.
“I’m already quite a paranoid person when it comes to car safety so reading this list made me even more worried, especially since my daughter just took one of the cars for a holiday trip to Kuala Lumpur,” she added.
On Aug 25, The Star reported that Malaysia is said to be ranked as one of the top 10 countries in the world with the highest number of vehicle thefts.
The top 10 car models preferred by car thieves in 2014 were the Proton Wira (1,268), Toyota Hilux (762), Proton Iswara (717), Proton Waja (694), Perodua Kancil (638), Perodua MyVi (477), Proton Saga (414), Proton Satria (273), Toyota Vios (252) and Proton Perdana (243).
In 2015, the top 10 cars stolen were the Proton Wira (1,214), Toyota Hilux (595), Proton Iswara (552), Perodua Kancil (550), Proton Waja (538), Perodua MyVi (379), Proton Saga (318), Proton Satria (238), Nissan Vanette (208) and Honda Civic (200).
Sharene said she has always been extra careful about parking her cars in public areas and she does her best to avoid parking in dark, lonely places.
“I know that car thieves have advanced technology that allows them to break into a car easily, so the most I can do is ensure that my car is locked properly.
“Sometimes, when I have no choice but to park at a spot far away from the place I’m going, I try to make my trips short so I can return to my car quickly and drive home,” she said, adding that the reason her family bought those cars was they were known to be more fuel efficient than other models.
Graphic designer Natasha Stevens said she did not expect to see the Perodua MyVi making it into the list of top 10 cars stolen in the last two years.
“I always thought that the Perodua MyVi is pretty common and it would usually be the more expensive cars that are targeted by car thieves,” said the 23-year-old who has had her car for the last three years.
Although she does not think about car thefts usually, Natasha said she has to make it a point to be more vigilant from now on.
“Now that I know about this list, I think I have to consider buying a steering wheel lock and ensure that my car is locked properly at night.
“There are some days when I just reach home and head straight to bed after work, totally forgetting to lock my car,” she said.
Bank officer Ahmad Zakaria, 34, who owns a 13-year-old Proton Wira, said he heard that the Proton Wira is popular among car thieves because they want its parts.
“The car model is even more valuable now that they are no longer in production,” he said.
Land surveyor Kevin Yap, who drives a 10-year-old Toyota Hilux, said the risk of theft was the very reason he has not replaced his vehicle with a newer version.
“One of the reasons why I cannot ever drive a new Toyota Hilux is because I fear for my safety.
“What if they hurt me to get my car? Worse still, what if my family is with me at the time,” said the 38-year-old father of two young children.
Asked if there was any way car owners could prevent their vehicles from getting stolen or carjacked, Yap said:
“You can use steering locks and avoid parking in lonely places but I do not see any sure way of preventing it from happening, especially if they’ve already marked you.”