Recent videos show how thieves pry open the igniter covers of Hyundai and Kia cars and then use a screwdriver or USB cable to start them up and drive away.
Some Hyundai and Kia cars and SUVs are missing “key” anti-theft devices, and thieves know.
An insurance industry group says these cars are stolen at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the auto industry because their keys lack the computer chip for the “fixed” theft system. .
The thefts appear to have started in the Milwaukee area two years ago and spread to many Midwestern and far-flung cities like Colorado and New Mexico after instructional videos surfaced on social media.
The Highway Loss Data Institute, a unit of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that Hyundais and Kias without immobilizers had a vehicle theft claim rate of 2.18 per 1,000 vehicles. year insurance. The rest of the industry combined has a ratio of 1.21. One insured vehicle year is equivalent to one insured vehicle for one year.
The institute, which released its results on Thursday, compared vehicles from the 2015 to 2019 model years. It studied claims of vehicle theft from 2021.
The key chip, which began to appear in the 1990s, communicates with another chip in the ignition switch. If they match, the engine will start. If they don’t match, the thief can’t start the engine.
The key does not have a fixation system in some lower-priced versions of the two Korean automakers such as That Research institute said Rio and Sportage and Hyundai Accent.
Matt Moore, senior vice president of the institute, said: “Our previous studies showed that damage from vehicle theft was reduced after immobilization was introduced.
In the 2015 model year, immobilizer was standard on 96% of other manufacturers’ models, the institute said. But they’re only standard on 26% of Hyundai and Kia models. The automakers did not explain their decision to not include immobilizers on some models.
The video shows the thieves pry open the ignition switch covers of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, then use a screwdriver or USB cable to start them and drive away.
Last year in Milwaukee, 66 percent of the 10,476 vehicles stolen were Hyundais or Kias, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The number of thefts has slowed in the city so far this year. 12, 6,048 vehicles had been made, but 58 percent of them were Hyundais or Kias, Milwaukee police said Thursday.
A 17-year-old theft suspect in a viral video of the Kia theft has been arrested after police used the video and an anonymous tip to track him down, the Journal Sentinel reported. He could face up to 22 years in prison.
Hyundai and Kia both acknowledged in statements that thieves were stealing some of their vehicles and said they met federal safety standards. “It is unfortunate that criminals are using social media to target immobile non-motorized vehicles in a coordinated effort,” Kia said.
All 2022 Kias have equipment fixed at the beginning or end of the model year. Hyundai says all models manufactured after November 1, 2021 have immobilizers as standard equipment.
Kia says it is working to provide free steering wheel locks to authorities in affected areas to prevent thefts. Hyundai says it also supplies locks to police, and in October it will begin selling a security kit that targets thieves’ methods.
The institute’s Moore said vulnerable Hyundais and Kias rank among the 20 most common vehicles for thieves, a distinction typically reserved for high-powered or expensive vehicles, or pickup trucks. The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat has the highest rate of theft claims.
Many vulnerable Hyundais and Kias are often purchased by people with lower incomes. “These are relatively inexpensive vehicles to buy new,” Mr. Moore said.
To help prevent theft, owners should roll up windows, lock doors and carry keys or fobs with them, the National Insurance Crime Bureau said. They should park in well-lit places or garages. If they have to park outdoors, owners should consider installing motion-sensing lights.
Date of first publication: September 23, 2022, 12:07 PM IST