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UPDATE: A Kia spokesperson commented on this story:
Kia America is aware of the rise in vehicle thefts of a subset of trim levels. All 2022 models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the year or as a running change. All Kia vehicles for sale in the U.S. meet or exceed Federal motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Kia customers with questions regarding their Kia vehicle should contact the Consumer Assistance center directly at 1-800-333-4542 (Kia).
A wave of thefts is affecting Hyundai and Kia models because crooks only need to break in and use a USB cable to drive the vehicle away. Making the situation worse, there are videos on social media demonstrating how to pull off this crime.
The affected vehicles allegedly don't have engine immobilizers, according to Automotive News. This makes it possible to plug the cord into a certain spot and start the powerplant without needing the key or fob.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinelreported that Kia vehicles starting with the 2011 model year and Hyundai models starting with the 2015 model year were affected. Last year, police in the city even started handing outsteering wheel locks to owners of these products to prevent the thefts.
A group of people going by the name "Kia Boys" on social media is reportedly posting videos of stealing the affected Hyundai and Kia models. They then show themselves joyriding in these vehicles.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, appears to be a major hotspot for this problem. In 2021, thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles were up2,644 percent from the previous year, according to Milwaukee's TMJ4 News. As of September 2021, the police indicated that 20 of the affected models were stolen each day.
The problem isn't only in this city, though, because other places around the country are seeing increased reports of these models being stolen.
Currently, new Hyundai and Kia vehicles have engine immobilizers meaning that this problem doesn't affect them.
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"Hyundai Motor America is concerned with the rise in local auto thefts. The safety and well-being of our customers and the community is and will remain our top priority. These vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and engine immobilizers are standard equipment on all new Hyundai vehicles. Hyundai customers who have questions can always contact the Hyundai Consumer Assistance Center at 800-633-5151," a company spokesperson told Motor1.com.
Motor1.com also reached out to Kia for comment about this situation. We haven't yet heard back from the automaker as of the story's publication. We will update the report upon receiving a response.
Can Hyundai be stolen with USB? ›
Local police are warning car owners of a social media challenge that is inspiring car thieves to target Hyundai and Kia vehicles by exploiting a manufacturing defect that allows them to easily be hot-wired with a USB phone charger cord.Can you really start a Kia with a USB cable? ›
Remove the first piece where you would ordinarily insert a key and you are left with a cylinder that has a little piece of exposed metal. Jam the end of a USB cable onto that piece of metal and you're done. All that's left to do is turn the USB cable as if it was a key and the car will start straight up.Which Kia models are being stolen? ›
Money reached out to eight of the largest car insurance companies in the U.S. for comment on their response to the rise in thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars — specifically, many of the 2011 to 2021 models including Kia Souls and Sorentos and Hyundai Tucsons and Elantras.Which Hyundai models are vulnerable to theft? ›
The list of affected Hyundai models includes certain 2016-21 model year Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade vehicles that use a steel key and do not have an engine immobilizer.How do I protect my Kia from being stolen? ›
The majority of Kia vehicles in the United States are equipped with a key fob and “push-button-to-start” system, making them more difficult to steal. All 2022 Kia models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the model year or as a running change.How do I keep my Hyundai from being stolen? ›
- Lock doors & take your keys.
- Don't leave a spare key in vehicle.
- Close windows.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Install alarm system & anti-theft device.
- Install vehicle immobilizer system &/or tracking system.
All Hyundai and Kia vehicles after Nov. 1, 2021 come standard with the anti-theft immobilizer, so many 2022 models and all 2023 units are safe from the brazen thefts. But in 2021 alone Hyundai sold 738,081 vehicles with the Tucson, Santa Fe and Elantra as top-sellers.What year Hyundais and Kias are being stolen? ›
Kia vehicles from model year 2011 to 2021 and Hyundai vehicles from model year 2016 to 2021 are especially vulnerable due to the absence of anti-theft devices that have long been standard for other automakers.Does Kia have tracking device? ›
If your Kia has been stolen, you can use the UVO app to remotely immobilize your stolen vehicle and track its location. Using the app you can set time, area, idle time, valet alert parameters, and speed limits for your Kia.Which Kias get stolen the most? ›
The Kia Sportage is one of the most-stolen vehicles right now. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) compiles a list of the most-stolen vehicles.
How do Kia and Hyundai thefts happen? ›
Some Hyundai and Kia cars and SUVs are missing a “key” anti-theft device, 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 computer chips for theft “immobilizer” systems.What model Hyundai is being stolen? ›
Affected Hyundai models include certain 2016-21 examples of the Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Kona, Palisade, Santa Fe, Sante Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL, Sonata, Tucson, Veloster and Venue. All affected vehicles both use a steel key and lack an engine immobilizer.Does a Kia have a anti-theft device? ›
ST. LOUIS – As the number of stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles has increased, new technology is trying to deter thieves before they steal your vehicle. With just a press of a button, a new device called the “Bluetooth Interrupter” stops thieves in their tracks.Which Kia models have an engine immobilizer? ›
Engine immobilizers are now standard on all Kia vehicles, according to a statement by the automaker and the company says it has been developing and testing security software for vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilize.Do all Hyundais have immobilizers? ›
Immobilizers are now standard on all Kia and Hyundai vehicles, according to their respective companies. They are also developing security software for vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer, CNN reports. Copyright 2023 CNN Newsource.Do Hyundai cars have tracking devices? ›
The Car Finder feature is accessed through the MyHyundai with Bluelink Mobile App. This feature allows you to locate your vehicle on a map if your GPS signal is within a 1-mile radius of your vehicle, and gives you the ability to save your vehicle's location for future reference.How do I find my stolen Kia? ›
Contact the Kia Connect Call Center via the Stolen Vehicle page in the Kia Access app or Kia Owner's Portal. Provide the Call Center representative with the police report number and any other requested information.Which Kia and Hyundai are easy to steal? ›
All 2011 to 2021 Kia vehicles and 2015 to 2021 Hyundai vehicles (like the 2016 Accent pictured at top) equipped with standard key ignitions that lack an engine immobilizer are vulnerable to theft.Are 2022 Hyundais being stolen? ›
In 2022, the New Orleans Police Department says 465 Hyundais manufactured between 2015-2021 and 389 Kias made between 2010-2021 have been stolen. Police say the models all have mechanical-keyed ignitions and lack an engine immobilizer. But it's not just New Orleans that is feeling the effects of the immobilizer issue.Which cars can be stolen with USB? ›
A wave of thefts is affecting Hyundai and Kia models because crooks only need to break in and use a USB cable to drive the vehicle away.
How can I protect my Hyundai from being stolen? ›
A new anti-theft security kit Hyundai developed in partnership with Compustar is now available. The kit includes both a kill switch and an alarm. Hyundai told Automotive News that the kit will be available at all of its 820 dealers in the U.S. and will take around two and a half hours to install.Is my Hyundai at risk of being stolen? ›
Ramping Up Security
All Hyundai and Kia vehicles after Nov. 1, 2021 come standard with the anti-theft immobilizer, so many 2022 models and all 2023 units are safe from the brazen thefts. But in 2021 alone Hyundai sold 738,081 vehicles with the Tucson, Santa Fe and Elantra as top-sellers.
If you own a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai, check with your carmaker about your specific vehicle to find out whether you're at a higher risk for car theft and what the manufacturer will do to help. Kia owners can call customer assistance at 1-800-333-4542. Hyundai owners should call 800-633-5151.What year of Kia cars are being stolen? ›
The suit alleges that Kia vehicles manufactured from 2011 and 2021 and Hyundai vehicles manufactured from 2015 to 2021 were equipped with traditional key ignitions that were deliberately created without engine immobilizers.Why are Kia getting stolen? ›
Kia vehicles from model year 2011 to 2021 and Hyundai vehicles from model year 2016 to 2021 are especially vulnerable due to the absence of anti-theft devices that have long been standard for other automakers.What is Kia doing to prevent theft? ›
All 2022 Kia models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the model year or as a running change. Kia America is working to provide steering wheel lock devices at no cost to law enforcement in affected areas to deter vandalism and theft.