It can take less than a minute to steal some Hyundai and Kia models, and it’s happening all over the country.
Why it matters: The widespread problem is attributed to vehicle design flaws, forcing owners to resort to the old-fashioned steering wheel lock for now if they want to keep their vehicles safe.
- Hyundai is telling its customers that if they want special safety kit to protect their cars, they have to pay for it.
- The “start cut and siren” equipment, which “targets the method used by burglars”, will be available from October. 1 for Hyundai vehicles at an undisclosed price, Hyundai said in a statement.
- Kia says it doesn’t currently offer a safety kit.
How it works: Thieves broke the window, removed part of the steering column cover and opened the ignition. They break the ignition cylinder and start the car with a flat screwdriver or USB plug-in.
- Dearborn, Mich. They’re “the perfect size to put in the opening,” Sam Hussein, president of auto repair at Metrotech Automotive Group, tells Axios.
- The method works on 2011-2021 Kias and 2016-2021 Hyundais, using a steel key rather than a fob and push-button start. They target cars without engine immobilizers — devices that, according to automakers, don’t allow you to start the car without the right smart key.
- According to Hossein’s calculations, the damage can be between 2000-3000 dollars. He said it may take some time to get the car back because some parts are on backorder due to increased demand.
Intrigue: Officials attribute some of the thefts to the virus trend YouTube video Interviews members of the so-called “Kia Boys” in Milwaukee. They demonstrate how quickly they steal cars.
Game Status: Some regions say Kias and Hyundais are missing more this summer, including the Midwest, where a Kia spokesperson told Axios is where the problem is most pronounced.
- In Detroit, 111 Kias were stolen in July, and 22 in the first nine days of August. It is 23 in June and 11 or less in all previous months of 2022.
- Charlotte, NC, police reported 156 Kia and Hyundai thefts since June 20, a 346% increase from 35 during the same period last year.
- According to the NICB 2021 Hot Wheels report, seven of the top 10 most stolen vehicles in Wisconsin were Kias or Hyundais. However, none of these vehicles made it to the top 10 in the state 2020 report.
In the meantime, car manufacturers are getting was sued across the countryincluding a two-plaintiff class action in Iowa, a state class action Wisconsin and two class-action suits are centralized Ohio theft victims, according to court records and law firms.
- Car owners claim they don’t disclose design flaws that make cars easier to steal. Now, despite acknowledging the problem, the companies are still refusing to “fix them” or “compensate consumers,” the Iowa lawsuit says.
- “Offer [a security kit] and then paying them to install it is not acceptable,” Jeffrey Goldenberg, an attorney for a five-plaintiff lawsuit made up of Ohio residents, told Axios earlier this month.
What they say: Hyundai Motor Co., the parent company of both the Hyundai and Kia brands, is aware that its vehicles are being “targeted in a coordinated effort on social media,” in a statement to Axios.
- Hyundai added that all of its vehicles “meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.” All cars produced now have immobilizers that make them harder to steal.
It is worth noting: The influence of “Kia Boys” is not everywhere. Officials in Houston, Austin, Salt Lake City and Richmond, Wash., told Axios reporters they haven’t seen that trend.
Zoom in: Richard Eldredge reported his 2019 Kia Soul stolen from the parking lot of a Midtown Atlanta apartment building on July 7, he tells Axios. The car was found damaged the next day. It is now waiting for parts due to a supply chain bottleneck.
- “Who would have thought that a dad-ride like the Kia Soul would be aimed at teenagers?” Atlanta journalist and editor-in-chief VOX ATL he said.
- “That’s it [because it’s] is a social media trend and it’s easy to do. “Lamborghini are a little more difficult to tear apart.”
Axios Local’s Everett Cook edited this story and Kim Bojórquez, Joe Guillen, Jay Jordan, Joann Muller, Karri Peifer, Asher Price, Katie Peralta Soloff and Thomas Wheatley contributed.
Sign up for Axios Localnow publishes daily newsletters in 24 US cities
Leave a Comment