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The new SUV being targeted by hijackers in South Africa

Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann has revealed that the Toyota Corolla Cross was increasingly targeted by hijackers in the country in 2023.

The Corolla Cross has been on sale for approximately two years now and has quickly risen to be the country’s most popular SUV, leading to high demand for its parts in both the legal and black markets, consequently spurring on the theft of the vehicle.

Another Toyota that criminals are taking more often for similar reasons is the RAV4, Bartmann told BusinessTech.

While models like the Fortuner and Hilux are regularly stolen for their engines, the security group noted that the Corolla Cross and RAV4 are primarily taken across the border into neighbouring countries presumably because they are well-equipped to handle African roads.

Bartmann said that approximately 30% of all stolen and hijacked vehicles last year were taken across the South African border.

7 high-risk vehicles

According to Fidelity’s latest data, the seven most high-risk models for theft and hijacking in South Africa are:

  • VW Polo
  • Ford Ranger
  • Nissan NP200
  • Toyota RAV 4
  • Toyota Corolla Cross
  • Toyota Hilux GD-6 and D-4D
  • Toyota Fortuner GD-6 and D-4D

“Hijackers target specific vehicles for a specific purpose and market,” said Bartmann.  “The demand for Toyotas, VWs, Fords, and Nissans remains high on the black market.”

He further said that hijackers have shown an increased interest in stealing commercial vehicles and trucks as they often carry valuable cargo, such as the Hyundai H-100 which is regularly used by companies as a last-mile delivery vehicle.

It’s important to note that the above high-risk vehicles are not the only cars in the crosshairs of hijackers, and anyone on the road remains at risk.

With this in mind, there are several practices motorists can integrate into their everyday routines to avoid becoming victims to these criminals, said Youlon Naidoo, executive head of claims and procurement at MiWay Insurance.

One invaluable habit to have is to consistently keep an eye on your rear-view mirror to ensure that no one is following you.

It’s recommended to be suspicious of all vehicles that are potentially trailing you regardless of the make or model, as hijackers are increasingly using an assortment of cars to keep an eye on their targets.

If you do arrive home and there is still a car behind you, do not open the gate and pull into your driveway as this could allow them to corner you and gain access to your vehicle and home.

“Instead, drive around the block to see if you can lose the car, or stop parallel to your gate, which will allow you to make a quick getaway should the trailing vehicle slow down,” said Naidoo.

If it looks as though you are still being followed, or should you feel uncomfortable with the situation, drive to your nearest police station instead of back home.

“Having an escape route planned will help to distract criminals and alert them that you have spotted their unusual actions,” said Naidoo.

Another good practice is to alternate your routes home.

Hijackers are more likely to learn your travel patterns and arrival times before they attack, so making these more unpredictable will help keep you and your ride safe.

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