Kia, Hyundais are easy targets for thieves, insurance data confirms

In fact, 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia models are about twice as likely to be stolen as other vehicles of the same age.many reasons These vehicles lack some basic anti-theft technology, including exist According to HLDI, most other vehicles, even in those years.

These models don’t have an electronic immobilizer, which relies on a computer chip in the car to communicate with another chip in the key to confirm that the key is real and does belong to the vehicle. Without the correct key, an immobilizer should do just that — stop the car from moving.

According to HLDI, 96% of vehicles sold in 2015-2019 had immobilizers as standard, but only 26% of Hyundai and Kia models had immobilizers as standard. Vehicles with push-button start systems, rather than relying on metal keys that must be inserted and turned, have immobilizers, but not all models with turnkey ignitions do.

Hyundai and Kia operate as separate companies in the United States, but Hyundai Motor Group owns a large stake in Kia, and various models of Hyundai and Kia share most of the engineering.

According to HLDI, the auto theft trend was widespread on social media last year. In Wisconsin, where it was initially popular, Hyundai and Kia theft claims soared to more than 30 times 2019 levels in dollar terms.

Some videos posted on TikTok show allegedly stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles being recklessly driven and even crashed. A TikTok spokesperson said recently: “TikTok will not tolerate this kind of violation of our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.”

According to HLDI, the theft method involved severe damage to the ignition system, suggesting the cars were stolen for fun and not for resale.

“When you forcibly interrupt the ignition, you do so much damage that it’s not easy to repurchase a vehicle on the open market and resell it,” said Darrell Russell, a former auto theft investigator. Russell) is now the company’s director of operations. The National Insurance Crime Agency said in a statement. Re-VINing a vehicle means changing or replacing its Vehicle Identification Number, a 17-letter-number identification number that makes the vehicle more difficult to track.

HLDI’s estimates of theft frequency are based on the number of given vehicle models on the road and the frequency of vehicle theft claims. Some vehicles are often stolen simply because so many are sold, so there are plenty of cars on the road to steal.

In the case of these Hyundai and Kia models, however, the theft rate is far out of proportion to their number on the road.

Hyundai spokeswoman Ira Gabriel said vehicles built after November 1, 2021 and those with push-button start would not be stolen in this way. Since then, electronic immobilizers have become standard on all modern vehicles, including those with key ignition.

Additionally, for those older cars that don’t have an immobilizer, Hyundai has identified a kit that can be installed to prevent this theft. The safety kit will be available for purchase and installation at Hyundai dealers and authorized installers starting October 1, the automaker said in a statement.

Kia points out that most Kia vehicles in the U.S. have a push-button start system, which makes theft more difficult.This NICB recommends simple steps for owners concerned that their vehicles could be targeted for theft Like always locking the door and parking in a well-lit area. In addition to this, owners have access to aftermarket anti-theft equipment such as additional alarm systems, steering wheel and pedal locks, and kill switches.

Among newer vehicles, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a large sedan with a supercharged V8 capable of producing over 700 horsepower, is the most popular with thieves relative to its number on the road, according to HLDI. Dodge vehicles are manufactured by global automotive company Stelanits.

“All Stellantis vehicles meet or exceed applicable federal standards for safety and security. We employ industry-standard technology in our North American vehicle lineup, including immobilizer features,” a spokesperson said in an email. “Nevertheless, we urge all motorists to exercise caution in protecting their vehicles.”

CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this story.

CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this story.

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