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Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Is the Most Stolen New Car, Hyundai and Kia Lead the Used Cars

Hyundai and Kia are faced with many class-action lawsuits across the U.S. because their cars lack electronic immobilizers, making them an easy target for thieves. The fact that the IIHS-HLDI puts 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia vehicles high in their most stolen vehicles top doesn’t help much with the lawsuits.
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Car thieves used to target high-value vehicles for obvious reasons. Since the risk is similar, the thieves tried to maximize the profit, which explains why sports cars and exotic vehicles were at the top of their list. But Hyundai and Kia are now up there with the best of the auto industry in terms of car theft. A Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) analysis of 2021 insurance claims shows that bargain-priced vehicles manufactured by Kia and Hyundai now rival muscle cars and luxury SUVs as top targets.

According to the analysis, whole vehicle theft claims were highest for the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the new-vehicle category. This is even more striking when you consider the relatively small number of cars on the road. But in the 2015-2019 category, theft claims were twice as common for Hyundai and Kia vehicles as a group as for all other car manufacturers.

“Car theft spiked during the pandemic,” said HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore. “These numbers tell us that some vehicles may be targeted because they’re fast or worth a lot of money and others because they’re easy to steal.”

Many 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia vehicles lack electronic immobilizers, which allows thieves to break in and bypass the ignition. The equipment is standard on nearly all cars of that vintage made by other manufacturers. In 2015, the immobilizers were standard on 96% of the vehicles sold in the U.S., but only 26% of Hyundais and Kias.

The Hyundai and Kia car theft exploded in 2021 when videos explaining how to jumpstart a Kia without a key became viral on social media. According to HLDI, Wisconsin saw a 30-time increase in the amount paid by insurance companies per insured vehicle year on claims caused by overall losses from Hyundai-Kia thefts. An insured vehicle year refers to one vehicle insured for one year, two vehicles insured for six months, and so forth.

Based on news reports and police advisories, Hyundai and Kia thefts have accelerated in 2022. While both car makers boast about their vehicles “meeting or exceeding Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards,” they are now entangled in a series of class-action lawsuits across the U.S. The cases could expand into a federal investigation that would see the two Korean automakers pay billions in compensation.

 
 
 
 
 

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