Theft from Hyundai and Kia increased last year, and is blamed on a lack of immobilizers in older vehicles

Theft from Hyundai and Kia increased last year, and is blamed on a lack of immobilizers in older vehicles

Dodge Chargers and Challengers are popular with thieves, but they face some unlikely competition from Hyundai and Kia.

According to a Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) analysis of 2021 insurance claims, “Among 2015-19 model year vehicles, theft claims were nearly twice as common for Hyundai and Kia vehicles, as a group, as for all other manufacturers.”

HLDI calculates this with the fact that many Hyundai and Kia cars from 2015-2019 lack electronic immobilizers, which makes them more difficult to steal. The Korean automakers were latecomers as immobilizers were standard on 96% of 2015 model year cars from other manufacturers, but were found on only 26% of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

Also read: New lawsuit claims Hyundai and Kia models too easy to steal after rise in thefts fueled by social media

It’s a striking difference and one that has been highlighted on social media to great effect. As the study noted, “In one of the earliest affected states, Wisconsin, the fad caused total Hyundai-Kia theft losses — the amount paid on theft claims per insured vehicle year — to rise to more than 30 times the 2019 level.”

HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore noted that the analysis found “Some vehicles may be targeted because they are fast or worth a lot of money, and others because they are easy to steal.” Hyundai and Kia models fall into the latter category, and Moore pointed out: “Our previous studies show that vehicle theft losses decreased after immobilizers were introduced. Unfortunately, Hyundai and Kia have lagged behind other automakers in making them standard equipment. »

Hyundai said the company is concerned about the recent increase in thefts, but noted that “all of our vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.” The company went on to say that “unfortunately, our vehicles have been targeted in a coordinated effort on social media.”

Kia issued a similar statement, but added “criminals seek vehicles equipped exclusively with a steel key and start-to-start ignition system” and “most Kia vehicles in the United States are equipped with a key fob and push-button two-start system” which makes them more difficult to steal.

There is little consolation for owners, with HLDI noting that the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Kia Sportage have all climbed into the top 20 list for whole vehicle thefts. To help solve the problem, Hyundai will offer a safety kit at dealers next month.

That said, there are things Hyundai and Kia owners can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim. If possible, park in a locked garage or a well-lit area. Owners can also purchase steering wheel locks, such as The Club, or aftermarket immobilizers.

It also goes without saying, don’t leave the keys in the car. It may sound like silly advice, but this common sense security measure can prevent tens of thousands of thefts each year that 84,131 vehicles were stolen with the keys in them in 2019.

H/T to Car blog

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