Since January, dealers have installed the anti-theft software upgrade on close to 940,000 Kia vehicles.  -  Photo: Kia/Automotive Fleet

Since January, dealers have installed the anti-theft software upgrade on close to 940,000 Kia vehicles.

Photo: Kia/Automotive Fleet

Kia America announced that it is unveiling an additional security measure to support its customers in response to criminals using methods of theft popularized on social media to steal or attempt to steal certain vehicle models.

This new hardware modification is an ignition cylinder protector that is designed for the vehicles that are not eligible for the security software upgrade that Kia introduced earlier this year. It works to combat theft by reinforcing the ignition cylinder body and preventing its removal through the method of theft promoted in videos that have spread across social media encouraging criminal activity.

This additional modification became available on Dec. 20 through a free Customer Satisfaction Initiative for the models that are not eligible for the software upgrade. Following the completion of the installation, each vehicle will be affixed with window decals to inform would-be car thieves that the vehicle is equipped with enhanced theft protection.

Kia and Hyundai's Blacklisted Vehicles

According to a report from WWL-TV in New Orleans, State Farm Insurance agents in Louisiana are not conducting business with owners of 105 Kia and Hyundai models that have been blacklisted beginning on Jan. 25. The report states the vehicles have been blacklisted because they are "vulnerable to theft."

The vehicles affected include: 

  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Accent
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Kona
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Tuscon
  • 2015-2021 Hyundai Veloster
  • 2015-2021 Kia Forte
  • 2015-2021 Kia Optima (4-door and hybrid models)
  • 2015-2021 Kia Rio
  • 2015-2021 Kia Sedona
  • 2015-2021  Kia Sorento
  • 2015-2021  Kia Soul
  • 2015-2021 Kia Sportage

Kia Taking Safety Precautions

This latest announcement follows a series of steps Kia has taken and continues to take to support its customers and communities that have been impacted by criminals using methods of theft promoted on social media to steal or attempt to steal certain Kia vehicles.

In addition to this ignition cylinder protector, Kia has also designed a software upgrade that further enhances a vehicle’s security by restricting the operation of a vehicle’s ignition system should a potential criminal attempt to steal a locked vehicle without the key.

Since January, dealers have installed the anti-theft software upgrade on close to 940,000 vehicles, and Kia has hosted temporary software upgrade clinics to assist local dealers with installation in multiple cities with more planned in early 2024.

Kia also continues to provide free steering wheel locks directly to affected owners of vehicles that are not eligible for the software upgrade, and the company is also working with local law enforcement agencies and public officials to distribute them as well.

To date, Kia has distributed more than 325,000 locks and will continue to provide them as they are needed. Earlier this year, the company also announced an agreement that will allow customers who have been impacted by vehicle thefts to receive additional benefits.

“Vehicle security is a top priority for Kia and we continue to take action to support our customers by helping to protect their vehicles from thefts, which have been encouraged by content spread across social media,” said Greg Silvestri, vice president, service operations, Kia America. “Reinforcing the ignition cylinder body is the latest step to help guard against these methods of theft and we strongly encourage owners of vehicles that don’t have engine immobilizers and are not able to receive our security software upgrade to have this free security measure installed.”

Kia is notifying impacted owners about this new anti-theft Customer Satisfaction Initiative with instructions to bring their vehicle to the nearest Kia dealership to have the free ignition protector installed.

The eligible vehicles with Key Operated Ignition System include:

  • 2011 – 2016 Sportage
  • 2011 – 2016 Forte
  • 2010 – 2022 Soul
  • 2011 – 2021 Rio
  • 2014 Sedona
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