Based on this article we get a general idea of what could be considered an appropriate SHTF vehicle:
*Tough and easy to repair.
*Solid reputation. A car that rightfully earned the item mentioned above by being on the street for decades.
*Cheap and commonly available spare parts.
Now, these three narrow down the options a bit but not completely. In this day and age there are other factors and since two is one and one is none its not a bad idea to have one vehicle that is cheap to repair but also cheap to drive (good gas mileage) and a second one that is bigger and 4x4 capable, I’m thinking a 4 door double cab type or sport utility truck like the 4-door Hilux.
To this we have to add another factor that presents a bit of a paradox when we go a bit further into ideal cars and bad times, and this is the issue of robbery and carjacking.
The 3.0 L Turbodiesel Hilux is made here in Argentina. We freaking love this car, of course. The Hilux is used by the police and liked by the rest of us for the reasons we all know. Yet yesterday while having a conversation with like-minded people at the shooting range, the consensus was that driving one around pretty much painted a bullseye on your back because its very sought after by carjackers.
The car is well made, popular, lasts a long time, all the things that make it a good car to own in tough times, yet at the same time that popularity creates a parallel black market of used parts. This means that chop shops have a list of prices for certain vehicles. Lets say a Peugeot 206 gets you 300 or 400 pesos, a Fiat Duna/Uno/147 gets you 200 bucks, but a nice Hilux delivered to be disassembled, be shipped to neighboring countries or have its numbers altered to be sold within Argentina, that car will get the carjacker maybe 500 or 600 bucks. This means that when criminals go out looking for vehicles, there’s a list with prices in their mind, and cars like the Hilux or Peugeot 206 are at the top of their list. You get all the good traits common and reliable cars have but you also suffer the black market that eventually grows whenever a country collapses.
This is a serious problem in other poor or corrupt countries around the world as well. It is in fact so serious, some security-aware people just don’t buy them to avoid these problems.
Now for example my crappy Daewoo, is a subcompact esthetically and in terms of capability not that different from a 206, but a 206 it is not. This means that a carjacker would look at my Daewoo twice, specially since it has its fare share of bumps and dents. Yet at the same time most of the parts used by the Lanos are common to the widely popular Chevrolet Corsa. I buy Corsa parts for my Lanos, but the Corsa is the one that is in high demand for carjacking.
If you happen to know of a model that isn’t as well known but uses many parts of the more popular cars, that may be a way to go to avoid getting your car stolen. Adding a few esthetic mods and sticking a different name in the back may dissuade some of the not so well informed criminals that are looking for a particular brand and model.
Just as a curiosity factor, are you wondering how many cars get robbed in Argentina? This insurance company website says 10%, 1 out of 10 cars get robbed each year, so you see, it is a serious problem since every year you roll a 10 side dice to see if its your turn or not.
The website also mentions that common yet older vehicles like the Duna, 147 or Peugeot 504 are favorite choices in the provinces and small towns. “Its just an old beatup truck/car” just doesn’t make it safe. If its common then that’s the factor that matters the most.