U.S. theft claims skyrocket for Hyundai and Kia vehicles, nonprofit group says

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WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) – U.S. theft claims were nearly twice as common for Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) and Kia Corp (000270.KS) vehicles as for all other manufacturers among vehicles from model years 2015 to 2019, a non-profit group said Thursday.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Road Loss Data Institute said many 2015-2019 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles do not have electronic immobilizers, which prevents people to break in and bypass contact. The feature is standard equipment on almost all vehicles made by other manufacturers during this period, the IIHS said.

Both Hyundai and Kia said their vehicles met US motor vehicle standards, but said their vehicles were targeted as part of a “coordinated effort” by social media users. Hyundai said engine immobilizers became standard on all vehicles produced after Nov. 1, 2021, while Kia said it added immobilizers in all vehicles in the 2022 model year .

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Hyundai said that starting Oct. 1, it will make available to dealers a security kit targeting the entry method used by thieves to gain access to such vehicles.

Kia said: “Criminals are looking for vehicles that only have a steel key and a ‘turn-to-start’ ignition system. The majority of Kia vehicles in the United States are equipped with a key fob and of a “push-to-start” system, making them harder to steal.”

The insurance group said immobilizers were standard on 62% of other manufacturers’ models in the 2000 model year, rising to 96% in 2015. But they were only standard on 26% of 2015 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles, he said.

The group said after social media attention in Wisconsin in 2021, overall losses from Hyundai and Kia theft – the amount paid on theft claims per year of vehicle insured – soared more than 30 times. the 2019 level.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Edmund Klamann

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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