Warning: Hyundai & Kia Thefts Spike in Chicagoland

Over the last several months, the Chicagoland area has been hit by a crime wave targeting unsuspecting drivers, specifically Hyundai and Kia vehicle owners. The team at Parkville Auto Body would like to bring awareness to this ongoing problem, especially to all local Hyundai and Kia drivers.

Parkville has seen a number of stolen Hyundai’s and Kia’s come to the shop for repair. Unfortunately, repairing the damage on a stolen vehicle is often expensive, and the volume of thefts occurring has lead to national backorders on auto glass and ignition assemblies, adding further frustration for victims whose vehicles have been stolen.

Hyundai and Kia thefts are on a nationwide spike, thanks to videos on the internet exposing a major security flaw in Kia models built between 2011-2021, and Hyundai models built between 2013-2021.

These instructional how-to videos have circulated social media platforms, and demonstrate how a USB cord can be used to hotwire various Hyundai and Kia models made in the last decade plus.

The security flaw is the absence of a device known as a ‘standard immobilizer’, an anti-theft measure that vehicle manufacturers use to prevent the vehicle from being started without the key present.

According to data compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), “immobilizers were standard on 96% of other manufacturers’ vehicles” built in 2015, while “standard on only 26% of Hyundai and Kia vehicle models [built that year].”

Of the more than 19,000 vehicles stolen in the City of Chicago in 2022, approximately 7,000 vehicles were either Kia’s or Hyundai’s (about 3,500 of each manufacturer), which encapsulated 38% of all stolen vehicle reports in 2022.

Since summer 2022, Hyundai & Kia car thefts have increased exponentially in Chicago. In May 2022, police records show only 46 reported Hyundai & Kai thefts. By August, the total jumped up to 676, which accounted for a third of all reported motor vehicle thefts in the city that month.

In October 2022, the city saw more stolen vehicles than any other month in 20 years (3,000), thanks in large part to the surge of stolen Hyundai & Kia vehicles.

There are a number of anti-theft options out there for those seeking to better protect their vehicle. This includes steering wheel locks, a kill switch, universal wheel lock, a GPS tracker, or a motion detection car alarm.

Hyundai, Kia’s parent company, has stated that it will begin selling and installing security kits designed to prevent this kind of theft at dealerships across the country. The company is also working with law enforcement in an effort to make steering wheel locks readily available.

If you’re a concerned Hyundai or Kia owner and would like to speak to a representative from either company, they can be reached at the following phone numbers:

Hyundai Customer Care Center: (800) 633-5151

Kia Consumer Assistance Center: (800) 333-4542

If your vehicle has been stolen and recovered, Parkville Auto Body is here to help you get the best possible repair you can. Feel free to call us at (630) 860-0010.