KIA reported its best-ever sales year, selling over 650,000 new vehicles in 2022. Hyundai set their own single-year record with over 700,000 vehicles sold in 2022. In fact, the Hyundai/Kia Auto Group was the fourth ranked auto-maker in fourth-quarter 2022 sales. Only Toyota, GM and Ford outsold them while Stellantis-FCA, (Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Chrysler) came in fifth. With this increase in popularity, their used vehicles are in greater demand than ever. But this has some less than law-abiding individuals exposing a design flaw that has us asking you, “Is your KIA or Hyundai safe?”
A recent TikTok trend shows viewers how to steal KIA and Hyundai automobiles is blamed for the significant uptick in thefts beginning in 2022 and carrying over to 2023. Those specifically targeted are Hyundai autos with model years ranging from 2015-2021 and KIA from 2011-2021. Many cities have reported a rise in vehicle thefts, some up over 800% since last year! Minneapolis, for example, has reported more than 3,300 KIA and Hyundai vehicles have been stolen in the last year alone. The issue is with the vehicles’ lack of an engine immobilizer, found in models with a traditional turn-key ignition. Vehicles with the push button start feature are not targeted in these thefts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that 3.8 million Hyundai and 4.5 million KIA vehicles are affected.
A Fix, of Sorts
Manufacturers have begun offering free steering wheel locks in November of 2022 but supplies were limited. And this is just a temporary fix, of course. According to nbcwashington.com, both KIA and Hyundai have recently developed a software update that dealers will install free of charge. This software became available in late February and lengthens the vehicles alarm from 30 seconds to one minute. It also requires the key to be in the ignition for it to start. Hyundai is rolling out their updates in phases. Hyundai owners can visit https://www.hyundaiantitheft.com/. Enter the VIN number to see if your vehicle is eligible for the free update.
Theverge.com states, “The software upgrade modifies certain vehicle control modules on Hyundai vehicles equipped with standard “turn-key-to-start” ignition systems. Locking the doors with the key fob sets the factory alarm, and an “ignition kill” feature activated. This renders the popular Tik-Tok trick ineffective. Customers must use the key fob to unlock their vehicles to deactivate the “ignition kill” feature.” Owners of these specific models have already been contacted by the manufacturers and are encouraged to schedule their update with a local dealer as soon as possible, which takes less than an hour to install.
The Insurance Conundrum
What does this mean for insuring your vehicle? Some major companies have put a temporary hold on writing new policies for these affected vehicles, especially in certain high-risk areas. A permanent resolution is needed before many carriers are willing to accept new policies. Owning one of these vehicles may not result in your policy cancellation. However, expect to see an increase in your premiums upon renewal. And if you are thinking about changing companies now may not the best time.
Reliable Agency, Inc. is always on the lookout for issues such as these to help keep you properly insured. Contact Heidi Reimer or any of our Personal Lines staff to find out how we can help you remain properly insured. Because at Reliable Agency, clients come first!