Social Media Posts on Car Theft Techniques Lead to Surge in Stolen Hyundai and Kia Models | Be Korea-savvy

Social Media Posts on Car Theft Techniques Lead to Surge in Stolen Hyundai and Kia Models

View of Hyundai Motor America's new corporate headquarters (Image courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group)

View of Hyundai Motor America’s new corporate headquarters (Image courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group)

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Korea Bizwire) –According to a CNN report on January 4, a series of social media posts demonstrating car theft methods have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in thefts of certain Hyundai and Kia models in the United States over the past three years.

Data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shows that insurance claims for thefts of specific vulnerable models from Hyundai and Kia spiked by over 1,000% between the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2023.

In the first half of 2020, about 1.6 out of every 1,000 Hyundai and Kia cars were stolen, comparable to other brands. However, by the first half of 2023, the theft rate for these vehicles soared to 11.2 per 1,000, while the rate for other brands remained relatively unchanged.

As a result, insurance claims for stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the first half of 2023 were more than seven times higher than other manufacturers.

Specific models produced between 2015 and 2019, particularly Hyundai’s Santa Fe and Tucson, and Kia’s Forte and Sportage, were especially vulnerable. These vehicles use a traditional key ignition system, making them about twice as likely to be stolen compared to vehicles with push-button start systems.

Many of these Hyundai and Kia models lack an engine immobilizer, a basic anti-theft device, while other brands typically include it in vehicles of the same vintage. An electronic immobilizer verifies that the key is authentic and corresponds to the vehicle.

The method of using the end of a USB cable to start a car has been widely disseminated on social media, particularly TikTok.

There has also been a significant increase in reports of damage to Hyundai and Kia vehicles, believed to result from failed theft attempts.

The rise in vehicle thefts is attributed not only to the spread of these techniques on social media but also to media coverage highlighting the vulnerabilities of these cars.

Matt Moore, a senior vice president at the HLDI, believes that media coverage can help inform people about ways to protect their vehicles. He emphasized the importance of notifying consumers who own vulnerable vehicles about available solutions.

Early last year, Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay $200 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the automakers did not take adequate measures to prevent car thefts, affecting about 9 million vehicle owners.

The settlement included compensation for stolen and damaged vehicles and the cost of anti-theft measures, including the installation of theft prevention software.

Kevin Lee (

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