Max Dorfman, Research Author, Triple-I
Bargain-priced Kia and Hyundai vehicles are being targeted for theft at rates similar to muscle cars and SUVs, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reported based on an analysis of insurance claims in 2021. The spike is in part on that attributed to the stolen models not having electronic immobilizers that prevent thieves from bypassing the ignition.
“Auto theft increased during the pandemic,” said Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI. “These numbers tell us that some vehicles are being targeted because they’re fast or worth a lot of money, and others because they’re easy to steal.”
Immobilizers are standard equipment on almost all vehicles of this year from other manufacturers. They were standard on 62 percent of models from other manufacturers in the 2000 model year. By the 2015 model year, immobilizers were standard on 96 percent of other vehicles, but only standard on 26 percent of Hyundai and Kia vehicle models.
“If it doesn’t have an immobilizer, it’s a little easier to steal,” said Darrell Russell, a former auto theft investigator who is now the chief of vehicles at the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
In Wisconsin, which was hit by these thefts earlier than most, Hyundai-Kia theft losses increased more than 30-fold from 2019.
Vehicle theft is still a big issue
In 2020, the FBI determined that $7.4 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft, with the average dollar loss per theft being $9,166. A total of 810,400 vehicles were stolen this year. The number of stolen vehicles increased 11.8 percent in 2020 from 724,872 in 2019. According to the NICB, the pandemic, the economic downturn, the loss of youth welfare programs, and public safety budget and resource constraints were key factors in the increase in stolen ones Motor vehicles 2020.
Preventive measures are important
The NICB recommends a multi-layered approach to prevent vehicle theft that includes:
- Always lock your doors and remove your keys from the ignition;
- using visible or audible devices such as alarms and steering column brake locks;
- Installation of a vehicle immobilizer, e.g. B. an emergency stop button or smart key; and
- Investing in a tracking system.