Revealed: New Zealand’s most stolen car

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 20, 2023 |

The Toyota Aqua has taken the top spot from the Mazda Demio as the nation’s most frequently stolen car, AMI has revealed.

In 2022, the Aqua, also known as the Toyota Prius C, accounted for 11% of AMI’s vehicle theft claims, despite only making up 1.47% of the country’s fleet.

The Toyota Aqua pips the Mazda Demio, which now comes in as the second most stolen car, closely followed by the Nissan Tiida. Rounding out the top ten are the Mazda Atenza (Mazda 6), Toyota MarkX, Toyota Vitz, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza and Mazda Familia.

Of note is the Toyota MarkX’s inaugural entry into the top 10, with theft claims surging in recent years from only 21 claims in 2020 to 441 in 2022, a 2,000% increase in just three years.

This pattern is mirrored across the rest of the data, as theft claims soared to new highs in 2022, up 43% on the year prior. This is a growing trend, despite a Covid-related dip in 2020. [1]

AMI’s Executive General Manager Claims, Wayne Tippet says the fact that thefts are trending upwards again makes it even more important to ensure insurance details are current. “Across New Zealand, we received 8,492 claims for vehicle thefts in 2022, up 43% on the year before, and up 54% from 2019.

“There are some things you can do to make your car less attractive to thieves, such as locking it, removing any valuables, and parking off-street or in a busy, well-lit area. Immobilisers are good, but if your car doesn’t have one installed, steering locks are effective deterrents too.

“I’d also urge people to check the sum insured on their insurance policy is up to date. Second hand cars are generally holding their value better than they used to, due to supply chain delays, parts shortages, and other factors,” Mr Tippet says. “So, if the worst happens and your car is stolen and written off, you want to make sure that your sum insured is at an appropriate level for your car.”

Regionally, Auckland far outstrips other areas of the country for vehicle theft claims, with almost 3,000 claims last year, well above runner up Canterbury, with 1,214 claims.

Recovery rates remain high, with 94% of all Aquas recovered, 93% of Demios and 91% of Vitzes, suggesting the majority of cars are being stolen for joyrides. 

 “Virtually all of these cars are recovered, so it’s likely they’re being stolen for joy rides or to commit other crimes, such as burglaries,” says Mr Tippet.

AMI’s top 10 most stolen vehicles for New Zealand (2022):

1.       Toyota Aqua

2.       Mazda Demio

3.       Nissan Tiida

4.       Mazda Atenza (Mazda 6)

5.       Toyota MarkX

6.       Toyota Vitz

7.       Subaru Legacy

8.       Toyota Corolla

9.       Subaru Impreza

10.   Mazda Familia

The most frequently stolen vehicle in each region, and the regions ranked (2022):



Stolen vehicle claims

Most frequently stolen vehicle


2,986 claims

Toyota Aqua



1,214 claims

Toyota Aqua



884 claims

Toyota Corolla & Toyota Aqua (equal)


663 claims

Mazda Demio


485 claims

Mazda Atenza

Bay of Plenty

 440 claims

Mazda Demio


 302 claims

Nissan Tiida

Hawke’s Bay

187 claims

Mazda Demio

East Coast

 75 claims

Mazda Atenza


73 claims

Mazda Demio


65 claims

Toyota Vitz


50 claims

Mazda Demio


49 claims

Mazda Demio



39 claims

Mazda Atenza


Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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