In the past three years, theft cases of some Hyundai and Kia models have increased dramatically by more than ten times, attracting widespread attention. This alarming growth can be largely attributed to a series of social media posts detailing methods for stealing these vehicles.
Insurance claims for stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles increased by more than 1,000% from the first half of 2020 to the same period in 2023, according to data provided by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an industry group specializing in statistics. Insurance.
Approximately 1 in 1,000 insured Hyundai and Kia vehicles were reported stolen in the first half of 2020, a figure that is in line with overall figures for other car brands. However, by the first half of 2023, the rate soared to 11.2 thefts per 1,000 Hyundai and Kia insured vehicles. Meanwhile, theft rates for other car brands have remained relatively stable.
According to HLDI, Hyundai and Kia had more than seven times the number of theft claims than other car brands during the same period.
Most easily stolen model
Particularly vulnerable are certain older models produced from 2015 to 2019, such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson, and the Kia Forte and Sportage. These vehicles, especially those equipped with turnkey ignition, are twice as likely to be stolen as other vehicles of the same age.
This is how they steal cars
This method of theft, widely circulated on social networks, involves using the metal tip of a USB cable to start the car, and this technique is one of the main reasons for the increase in theft.
According to HLDI’s breakdown, Hyundai and Kia vehicle theft claims increased significantly in the first half of last year in some states, including New York, Washington and Delaware. In Maryland, for example, claims increased from 4 claims per 1,000 insured vehicles in the second half of 2022 to 14 claims in the first half of 2023.
Vandalism claims have also skyrocketed, peaking in the first half of 2023 at three times the rate of other vehicles on the market, likely due to attempted theft.
This worrying increase in theft has led some car insurance companies in certain markets to refuse coverage for older Hyundai and Kia models, a rare move in the industry.
Changes in automobile production
Hyundai and Kia responded by striking deals with owners and committing to invest $200 million to resolve vehicle safety-related claims. In addition to paying for stolen or damaged vehicles, the settlement also covers the installation of anti-theft software and other costs associated with anti-theft measures.
Faced with this growing problem, some states have stepped up cooperation with car companies to distribute steering locks to owners of affected models.
Despite these efforts, experts say the rapid increase in thefts is linked to increased awareness of the vulnerability of these vehicles and the technology they exploit. HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore emphasized the importance of vehicle owners understanding their vehicle’s vulnerability and taking steps to protect it, while noting that media coverage can also play a key role in raising awareness about preventing accidents and robberies.