Kia and Hyundai cars stolen at higher rates in Columbus
Following a trend observed in other midwestern citiesnearly four in ten cars stolen in Columbus so far this year have been Kia or Hyundai models.
As of Thursday, a total of 4,013 vehicles had been reported stolen to Columbus police. Just over 38% of them were Kia or Hyundai models, as some found ways to steal the vehicles without setting off an alarm. This percentage was much lower – around 10% – in 2021.
Vehicle thefts are on the rise in Columbus overall, both attempted and successful. A third more cars have been stolen this year compared to the same time last year, according to the most recent data from the Columbus Police Division.
Police: teenagers largely at the origin of car thefts
Cmdt. Duane Mabry said teenagers are primarily responsible for the upsurge in thefts and had fun targeting Kia and Hyundai models because of the relative ease of starting them without a key. Often stolen cars are damaged or destroyed by the time police find them, he added.
“Our officers are in danger to chase these cars down and prevent this from happening,” said Mabry, who added that he was eager for South Korean multinational automaker Kia to find a solution.
In a statement, Kia America said it is aware of increased vehicle thefts in Columbus of certain versions of its models.
“Starting with the current 2022 model year, all Kia vehicles come standard with an immobilizer,” the statement said. “All Kia vehicles for sale in the United States meet or exceed federal motor vehicle safety standards.”
James Bell, corporate communications manager for Kia America, said the immobilizers are designed to override the vehicle’s ignition system when the official key is not present and/or not used as intended.
A Hyundai spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
“My heart just sank”
On the morning of June 27, Taylor Slovak was late for work and rushed to the door of her Clintonville home, coffee in hand.
“The last thing I expected to see was an empty driveway. I opened the back door and my heart sank in my stomach,” Slovak said. “I thought I was going to vomit.”
Slovak isn’t exactly sure how the thieves got into her and her husband’s 2019 Kia Sportage, which has a push start. There was no glass on the floor where the car had been parked.
It was only when her neighbor sent Slovak media reports about Stolen Kia and Hyundai models in other Midwestern communities, namely Milwaukee, that she learned about the trend.
“Somehow I had completely missed all of this. If we had seen all of this, we would have put on a steering wheel lock and done everything we could to protect it,” Slovak said. “Now, of course, none of these things are foolproof.”
Slovak, 35, found his car three days after it was stolen by looking for it in the Columbus Police Database for Seized Vehicles. Its front axle appears to be broken, something is wrong with the car’s engine, a tire rim has been destroyed, and the car’s rearview mirror has been ripped off.
“But honestly we are lucky,” Slovak said. “The pictures I’ve seen of other people’s cars…some are burnt out, some are upside down. Most of them have key ignitions…they don’t have a steering column and they’re not going to have a steering column for six months.”
Additional security measures
Slovak has taken steps to prevent his car from being stolen again, such as installing exterior security cameras, purchasing a steering wheel lock and installing a tracking device and system. improved alarm for the car.
She is also considering filing a class action lawsuit against Kia in federal court. In the meantime, she launched the “Columbus Kia/Hyundai Theft Victims” Facebook group to get in touch with other victims.
“Clearly something is wrong,” she said. “I’m a really good loud voice and a squeaky steering wheel. Hopefully we can get Kia to move on that.”
Two women sued Kia and Hyundai in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Last year. Several others have since signed their lawsuit, which was later transferred to the Eastern District Court of Wisconsin.
“Milwaukee is hit in the mouth, way more than us,” Mabry said.
How does the eruption of stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles affect their value and cost of insurance?
Ivan Drury, chief information officer at Edmunds, a website that tracks car values and prices, said it was too early to tell whether the value of Kia and Hyundai vehicles would be hit by car thieves.
He also said that a vehicle’s value is not affected as much, if at all, by rates of theft; vehicle aspects or market dynamics are more important.
“With the current market in extreme levels of constriction and if there are more stolen Kias and Hyundais, the only effect we might see is an increase in value as consumers try to obtain replacement vehicles. “said Drury.
Andrew Hurst, car insurance expert at Policygenius, an online insurance marketplace, said owners of Kia and Hyundai models who are targeted by thieves will likely pay more in insurance later.
“Since a brand-specific design flaw is responsible for the rise in Kia and Hyundai thefts, it won’t be drivers living in a particular city or state who are likely to see higher rates. “, said Hurst. “Instead, anyone who drives a car with a security flaw can see their auto insurance skyrocket, regardless of where they live.”
Monroe Trombly covers the latest news and trends.