Bargain-priced According to a research by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) based on an examination of 2021 insurance claims, Kia and Hyundai vehicles have started to be targeted for theft at rates comparable to those of SUVs and muscle cars. The increase is partly attributable to the absence of electronic immobilizers on the stolen vehicles, which prevent criminals from bypassing the ignition.
According to Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI, “car theft increased throughout the epidemic.” These statistics suggest that some vehicles may be targeted due to their speed or high value, while others may be targeted due to their ease of theft.
Nearly all cars of that era built by other automakers come standard with ignition immobilizers. In the model year 2000, they came as standard on 62% of other manufacturers’ models. Immobilizers were standard on 96% of other car models by the model year 2015, but only on 26% of Hyundai and Kia car models.
According to Darrell Russell, the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s director of operations for automobiles and a former auto theft investigator, “if it doesn’t have an immobilizer, it does make it slightly easier to steal” (NICB).
Losses from Hyundai-Kia thefts increased more than 30 times from the level of 2019 in Wisconsin, which was hit by these thefts earlier than most other states.
Theft of motor vehicles is still a serious problem.
According to the FBI, motor vehicle theft cost $7.4 billion in lost revenue in 2020, with an average loss of $9,166 per crime. That year, 810,400 automobiles in total were stolen. In 2020, there were 724,872 vehicle thefts, an 11.8 percent increase from the previous year. According to the NICB, the pandemic, economic crisis, elimination of youth outreach initiatives, and resource and budgetary constraints in public protection were major contributors to the rise in vehicle theft in 2020.
Prevention strategies are crucial.
The NICB suggests the following multi-layered strategy to stop car thefts:
keeping your doors locked and taking your keys out of the ignition;
using alarms and steering column brake locks, or other audible or visual systems;
installing a kill switch or smart key to immobilize the vehicle; and spending money on a tracking system.