Kia and Hyundai continue to roll out anti-theft measures


In 2021 and 2022, the hashtag “Kia Boyz” was all over social media, accompanied by videos of mostly Kia and Hyundai vehicles being stolen using a specific method.

As a result of the “Kia Boyz” trend, the theft rate of Kia and Hyundai vehicles, especially those produced between 2010 and 2021 and not equipped with immobilizers, has increased sharply nationwide, as reported by USA TODAY in 2022.

Now, in 2024, Kia and Hyundai continue to take action to increase the safety of their vehicles.

In February 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that both Kia and Hyundai had developed “theft prevention software” that would be installed free of charge for vehicle owners whose vehicles do not have immobilizers.

According to the announcement, the software “updates the theft alarm software logic to increase the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition to turn on the vehicle.”

In addition to this software, both companies planned to implement additional measures, such as window stickers, the provision of steering locks and more.

Kia security measures

“In response to this situation, Kia continues to take comprehensive action to improve the safety of our vehicles in an effort to prevent criminals from using theft methods popular on social media to break the law and steal or attempt to steal certain car models to steal.” said a statement from Kia. “We continue to strongly encourage eligible customers to receive the software upgrade we developed and rolled out last year.”

To date, more than 1.1 million Kia vehicles nationwide have received the upgrade.

Kia is also offering a free hardware upgrade for car owners whose vehicles are not eligible for the software upgrade. This modification is an ignition cylinder protector that attempts to combat theft by “strengthening the body of the ignition cylinder and preventing its removal.”

After installing such modifications, each vehicle receives a window sticker to inform potential thieves that it offers better protection.

In addition, Kia will continue to supply steering locks to vehicle owners who do not qualify for the software upgrade. Customers can obtain a free Kia-supplied steering lock from their local police department or upon request via the Kia website. To date, they have distributed over 360,000 locks.

If you have not yet participated in one of these offers, you can visit and enter your vehicle’s VIN for more information and to see if your vehicle is eligible for upgrades.

“Kia will continue to work with law enforcement agencies and local officials across the country to combat vehicle theft and the role social media has played in encouraging it, and we remain fully committed to supporting our customers,” Kia said.

Affected Kia vehicles include all 2011 through 2021 Kias that use a steel key to “turn to start.” Push button systems are not affected.

Hyundai safety measures

“Hyundai is committed to the comprehensive actions we are taking to assist customers and communities affected by the ongoing theft of certain vehicles not equipped with push-button ignition and immobilizer,” Hyundai said in a statement.

According to Hyundai, more than 1.28 million affected vehicles are equipped with anti-theft solutions, including anti-theft software and ignition cylinder protection installations.

To speed up the installation of these protections, Hyundai has launched multi-day pop-ups in cities across the country.

For additional information or to schedule upgrades for your vehicle, customers can visit

Hyundai vehicles affected include:

  • Accent 2018-2022
  • Elantra 2011-2022
  • 2013-2020 Elantra GT
  • Genesis Coupe from 2013-2024
  • Kona 2018-2022
  • Stockade 2020-2021
  • 2013-2022 Santa Fe
  • 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sports
  • 2019 Santa Fe XL
  • Sonata 2011-2019
  • 2011-2022 Tucson
  • Veloster 2012-2017 and 2019-2021
  • Location 2020-2021

Car theft in 2023

Recent reports from the National Insurance Crime Bureau show that in 2023, car thefts continued to rise across the country, with Kia and Hyundai vehicles experiencing the highest theft rates.

According to the NICB, more than 1 million vehicles were reported stolen and the total number of vehicle thefts increased by approximately 1% compared to 2022. In 2022 there were 1,008,756 vehicle thefts and in 2023 there were 1,020,729 vehicle thefts, a record year. The number of car thefts has risen steadily since 2019.

The core-based statistical analysis area of ​​New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania ranked sixth among the top 10 areas with the highest number of auto thefts with a total of 33,596 thefts in 2023, a 6% change from 2022. New Jersey landed not on the list of the top 10 states with the highest number of car thefts.

Another report found that Kia and Hyundai vehicles suffered the most theft in 2023, occupying six of the top ten spots, including the top three. The NIB reports that social media trends likely played a role in pushing these vehicles to the top spots and breaking a years-long trend of large pickup trucks topping the list.

The 10 most stolen vehicles in 2023, per NIB, are:

  • Hyundai Elantra: 48,445 thefts
  • Hyundai Sonata: 42,813
  • Kia Optima: 30,204
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500: 23,721
  • Kia Soul: 21,001
  • Honda Accord: 20,895
  • Honda Civic: 19,858
  • Kia Forte: 16,209
  • Ford F150 Series Pickup: 15,852
  • Kia Sportage: 15,749

Preventing and tackling car theft

To help prevent vehicle thefts, the NIB advises vehicle owners:

  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when parking
  • Hide valuables out of sight, such as in the trunk or glove box
  • Do not leave keys in the vehicle
  • Do not leave your vehicle while it is moving

If your vehicle is stolen, you must immediately report it to the police. The sooner the vehicle is reported stolen, the better your chances of recovery: 34% of recovered stolen vehicles are recovered on the same day as the theft and 45% are recovered within two days. In addition, reporting the theft to the police provides evidence that you can show to your insurer.

You will need to provide important vehicle information such as the vehicle’s make and model, color, license plate number and VIN number. This information can be found on the insurance policy documentation.

For more information about reporting a stolen vehicle, visit