Over the course of 2023 and into the new year, security groups noted seven vehicle models in the crosshairs of hijackers across South Africa – including one that launched just over two years ago.
Fidelity Services Group confirmed that while vehicle hijackings are increasing in general, the group has not experienced any particular spikes in the number of vehicle hijackings nationally over the festive season – but this is expected to change in the coming months.
“Fortunately, no spikes in hijackings were recorded from our perspective over the festive season. However, we are gearing up as the available data indicates that a spike in hijackings may occur from January and February,” said Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann.
Regarding the most popular cars among hijackers, Bartmann said that vehicle hijackings are largely a business driven by demand and supply.
“Hijackers target specific vehicles for a specific purpose and market. The demand for Toyotas, VWs, Fords, and Nissans remains high on the black market,” he said.
As a result, Bartmann highlighted the most hijacked cars among these brands – based on the Fidelity SecureDrive base for 2023 and into the new year.
According to Fidelity’s latest data, the seven most high-risk models, in no specific order, are:
- Toyota Fortuner (GD6 and D4D);
- Toyota Hilux (GD6 and D4D);
- Toyota Corolla Cross;
- Toyota RAV 4;
- VW Polo (especially hatchbacks);
- Nissan NP200; and
- Ford Ranger (both double and single cabs).
While these models have historically been at high risk, the RAV 4 and Toyota Corolla Cross have climbed the high-risk scale, with the Corolla Cross only having been launched in the country in November 2021.
Since then, the crossover has consistently been on the best-selling lists over the course of 2023 – selling over 22,000 and earning fourth place on Naamsa’s top 10 list of best-selling cars last year.
In addition to these seven models, Bartmann noted hijackers are increasingly targeting utility vehicles and trucks for the cargo – particularly the Hyundai H100s.\
Bartmann reminded South Africans that most hijackers target victims at, or close to, their residences and places of work.
He also confirmed that approximately 30% of all stolen and hijacked vehicles last year were taken across the border into neighbouring countries.
He advised the public always to be aware of their surroundings and look out for any vehicles that may be following them.
If they suspect that they are being followed, they should drive to the closest police station immediately or at least to a busy centre where there are other people around.
“Do not offer any resistance during a hijacking. Remember that perpetrators are always armed and would not hesitate to fire when confronted. Additional perpetrators may stand out of view and fire should you fight back,” Bartmann warned.
A hijacking can happen at any place and at any time. The best response is to be alert and aware of any suspicious activity near you, he added.