The boss of Jaguar Land Rover has denied that his company’s vehicles are especially vulnerable to theft.
Adrian Mardell said the Range Rover “is not ‘Britain’s most stolen vehicle'” after a series of reports about soaring insurance costs for UK owners.
He accused the insurance industry of failing to take into account all data when setting cover and premiums.
Last year, JLR launched its own insurance after some drivers were unable to get cover at all.
Speaking angrily to journalists after JLR announced its latest financial results, Mr Mardell said that vehicle theft by organised criminals was a serious issue in the UK, but his own business had been unfairly singled out.
“It is not ‘Britain’s most stolen vehicle’, as reported incorrectly”, said Mr Mardell, adding that he wanted to correct what he described as “misinformation” and a “myth” about thefts, in particular where Range Rovers were concerned.
It follows reporting, including by Bloomberg, which said the Range Rover Velar model “was the most-stolen car in the year to March 2023, with more than two out of every 100 reported stolen” citing data from the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
A wave of car thefts in recent years has concerned some carmakers that it may have a knock-on effect on demand for vehicles, particularly luxury models.
Range Rovers, often used by celebrities, politicians and even royalty, have received much of the attention.
The cars can cost anything between £40,080 to almost £200,000 for more advanced models.
Mr Mardell said thefts of Range Rovers had fallen 27% last year compared with 2022 and new models were especially secure.
Of the latest Range Rover model, he said only 11 vehicles out of a total of 12,800 sold had been stolen, according to police data.
“There is no reason whatsoever why any insurance company should not gladly and readily insure those new vehicles. Zero reason, in any part of the country,” he said.
“The insurance industry clearly are not using the information and the data… they are very slow to respond to data”, he added.
One owner in north London told the Daily Mail this week she was quoted £890 a month for insurance. “I’ve been forced to declare my Range Rover off road,” she said.
JLR also announced a £10m investment in vehicle security, to help prevent so-called keyless thefts.
It had so far spent £15m updating older vehicles with new security software, that for example, prevent thieves from cloning remote car keys as well as funding police analysts.
Mr Mardell said JLR was providing funding to police authorities, in order to improve security at ports and prevent stolen vehicles being shipped out of the country.
He said the technology used by criminal gangs should be illegal and the company was working with the government to help get laws changed.