Photo by Vincent Desjardins

Car and Driver website reports, “When thieves successfully break into a car and start the engine without a key, the targeted vehicles are usually older, don’t have anti-theft devices, and have physical ignition cylinders that can be mechanically bypassed. But age apparently hasn’t been a factor in Milwaukee, where police say that thieves—many of them minors—are jacking late-model or brand-new Hyundai and Kia vehicles, and many are posting about it on social media.”

“One car-repair facility owner was quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explaining that “Kia thieves know they can break the back window without setting off an alarm, unlock the door, quickly peel back the steering column, and either use a screwdriver or a USB port to crank the car and go.””

“Spokespeople for Hyundai and Kia told C/D that every new Hyundai now has standard engine immobilizers, and that all 2022 Kias across the lineup will also have the engine immobilizer fitted as standard equipment. The Kia spokesperson also said, “While we have seen the same public statements about the potential for a lawsuit to address a crime wave in Milwaukee, we are not aware of the basis for any legal claims against Kia America.””

“Starting with the 2022 model year, Kia said, it will make immobilizers standard on all trim levels of all models, a spokesperson said. Hyundai told C/D that all its new vehicles at every trim level have the immobilizers now. These have a transponder in the key fob to prevent a vehicle from being started by someone without the right key.”

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