The number of car thefts decreased by 16% between 2004 and 2005, figures from the Home Office have revealed.
The home secretary praised police and motor manufacturers
The fall, amounting to 38,394 fewer thefts in England, Wales and Scotland, is being put down to improved security features on the latest vehicles.
Vauxhall Belmonts have the worst record for being stolen, followed by the Vauxhall Astra Mk II.
Home Secretary John Reid praised the work of police and manufacturers in making cars more difficult to steal.
"Since being made compulsory in 1998, electronic immobilisers have also had a great impact on car theft," he said.
"Making cars less easy to steal makes them more attractive to buy. The car theft index is a consumer tool, maintaining pressure on manufacturers to make sure security is a key factor when they design and make their cars.
MOST STOLEN CARS
1. Vauxhall Belmont
2. Vauxhall Astra Mk II
3. Ford Escort Mk III
4. Austin/Morris Metro
5. Vauxhall Nova
6. Ford Orion
7. Rover Metro
8. Austin/Morris Maestro
9. Austin/Morris Montego
10. Ford Fiesta Mk I, II and III
Based on number of thefts per 1,000 cars registered
"People need to know the cars they buy are as safe as possible from theft."
The number of car thefts fell from 237,925 in 2004 to 199,531 last year.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Christopher Macgowan said the industry took security "very seriously" when new cars were designed.
"Manufacturers have introduced mechanisms such as immobilisers and deadlocks to increase the security of vehicles," he said.
"Motorists can also help reduce the risk of theft of older cars by taking simple steps such as using a steering lock when they leave the vehicle."