CNN

Hyundai and Kia thefts soar more than 1,000% since 2020

Jan 4, 2024, 12:19 PM

Brand new Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs are displayed at a Hyundai dealership on April 7, 2017 in Colma, Ca...

Brand new Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs are displayed at a Hyundai dealership on April 7, 2017 in Colma, California.(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Certain Hyundai and Kia models saw a 10-fold increase in thefts in just the past three years, a wildly dramatic increase in the wake of a series of social media posts showing people how to steal the vehicles.

Theft insurance claims for vulnerable Hyundais and Kias increased more than 1000% between the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2023, according to data from the Highway Loss Data Institute, an industry group that tracks insurance statistics.

In the first half of 2020, roughly 1.6 out of every 1,000 insured Hyundais and Kias were reported stolen. That was about the same as for all other makes of cars. By the first half of 2023, though, that figure had risen to 11.2 per 1,000. Meanwhile, the theft rate for all other makes of cars stayed about the same.

During the first half of 2023, Hyundai and Kia theft claims were also more than seven times higher than for cars from other manufacturers, according to the HLDI.

Certain older Hyundai and Kia models made between 2015 to 2019 are particularly vulnerable to car thieves. Less expensive versions of vehicles such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson and the Kia Forte and Sportage equipped with turn-key ignitions — as opposed to cars that only require a button press to start – are roughly twice as likely to be stolen as other vehicles of a similar age.

Many of these vehicles lack some of the basic auto theft prevention technology, such as electronic immobilizers, included in most other vehicles even in those years, according to the HLDI. Electronic immobilizers rely on a computer chip in the car and another in the key that communicate to confirm that the key is authentic and really belongs to that vehicle.

Hyundai and Kia operate as separate companies in the United States, but Hyundai Motor Group owns a large stake in Kia, and various Hyundai and Kia models share much of their engineering. More recent models are less vulnerable to theft.

Some states, such as New York, Washington and Delaware, had marked increases in Hyundai and Kia theft claims during the first half of last year, according to HLDI data. In Maryland, for example, theft claims increased from four per 1,000 insured vehicles in the last half of 2022 to 14 in the first half of 2023.

The method of theft, which involves using the metal tip of a USB cable to start the car, spread through social media, especially TikTok.

Vandalism claims also soared for the afflicted Hyundais and Kias, peaking at three times the rate of other vehicles on the market in the first half of 2023, the HLDI said. The spike was likely the result of failed theft attempts, it added.

Presumably, the rapid increase in thefts is tied to broader awareness of the vulnerability and techniques for exploiting it, said Matt Moore, senior vice president at HLDI. While the theft trend initially spread on social media, traditional media stories about the trend also carry information how vulnerable these vehicles. But media coverage can also serve to let people know there are ways to protect their vehicles.

“I think at this point, like it’s it’s important to help consumers understand, the folks who own these vehicles that have the vulnerability, that there there is a remedy that that is available,” he said.

Earlier this year, Hyundai and Kia agreed to a $200 million settlement with as many as 9 million vehicle owners to settle claims that the automakers didn’t do enough to make the vehicles secure. Along with payments for stolen and damaged vehicles, the settlement also included installation of anti-theft software and the costs of other theft-preventative measures.

The issue has become so prevalent that some auto insurers in certain markets have simply refused to cover these older Hyundai and Kia models, something insurers don’t often do.

Both automakers pointed to the steps they have taken to provide anti-theft equipment and technologies to customers. They have also worked with local police to distribute steering locks to owners of these models.

“Kia continues to take significant steps to support our customers in response to criminals using methods of theft promoted and popularized on social media to steal or attempt to steal certain vehicle models,” Kia spokesman James Bell said as part of a lengthy statement detailing steps the company has taken. He urged eligible customers to install the software upgrade that his Kia rolled out earlier this year.

Hyundai said it has also set up temporary service centers in a number of major cities to install anti-theft software in vehicles.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

CNN

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) heads to the floor of the Senate for a vote on Capito...

Clare Foran, Morgan Rimmer and Ted Barrett, CNN

Mitch McConnell to step down from GOP leadership position in the Senate

Mitch McConnell will step down as GOP leader in November, the Kentucky Republican announced on the Senate floor Wednesday.

7 hours ago

Soldiers carry the coffin of Ukrainian poet and serviceman Maksym Kryvtsov who was killed in action...

Stephanie Halasz and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Zelensky warns ‘millions will be killed’ without US aid to Kyiv, as Ukrainian troop deaths reach at least 31,000

“Millions” could die in Ukraine’s war with Russia if US lawmakers don’t approve President Joe Biden’s $60 billion aid request.

3 days ago

Kathy Brandel and her husband of 27 years, Ralph Hendry...

Sharif Paget, Chris Boyette and Polo Sandoval, CNN

Family of Americans believed dead after yacht allegedly hijacked in Grenada describe scene of violence

The family of two Americans who may have been killed in an alleged yacht high jacking in Granada hope the couple might be found alive.

3 days ago

Police tape drapes the crime scene on a trail behind Lake Herrick at the University of Georgia in A...

Ashley R. Williams, Raja Razek, Priscilla Alvarez, Isabel Rosales and Jaide Timm-Garcia, CNN

Questions remain in investigation of death of Augusta University student found on UGA campus

As the investigation continues into the death of an Augusta University student, officials confirmed the immigration status of a suspect.

3 days ago

Kenneth Mitchell, here in 2018, has died....

Megan Thomas, CNN

Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Marvel’ actor, dead at 49

A native of Canada, Mitchell acquired more than 50 film and television credits over the course of his acting career. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2019.

4 days ago

Charles E. Escalera, 21...

Michelle Watson and Maria Sole Campinoti, CNN

Kentucky man arrested in connection with death of Campbellsville University student

A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a student at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Hyundai and Kia thefts soar more than 1,000% since 2020