Cadillac Escalade gets new anti-theft features


"It's not that it's the No. 1 car that's stolen in America, but when it comes to sort of a per capita ratio, far more Escalades are stolen and the value of the insured loss is much greater," said Candysse Miller with the Insurance Information Network of California.

The average claim payout for a stolen Escalade is about $10,000. That's because many times when one is recovered, it has had lots of expensive parts removed.

"It's not just because of the sort of 'bling' of the Escalade, it's because the Escalade has parts that go in other Cadillacs and other GM cars," said Miller.

Cadillac is aware of the theft problem. So in a kind of unusual move, they sent out a press release announcing changes to the 2012 Escalade to make it more theft-proof.

First up is a new-generation coded key. That means no key, no start. Only the proper key will work in the ignition.

And the ignition's been beefed up to make it harder to jimmy. There are also new sensors for the alarm in case a window is broken.

Even if a car thief doesn't want to steal your entire Escalade, they might want to steal your 20 inch wheels. Those cost about $3,000 to replace, and a set of four tires are priced at over $4,000 at the TireRack, an online discount site.

New wheel locks make it harder for a thief to remove them. And if the vehicle is lifted up on a jack, another sensor will detect this and set off the alarm.

Cadillac also notes that the standard OnStar system can track the Escalade's whereabouts if it is still stolen. But with the new features in place, the company says that's less likely to happen.

"And if these are strong, layered defenses against theft, then ultimately it may also be reflected in your insurance policy it may get a little break if it proves effective," said Miller.

As far as car thieves go, the big Caddy truck might still be on their wish lists, but it'll now be a little harder to obtain.

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