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2023’s Top Vehicle Theft Statistics Show Kia, Hyundai Sedans Most Stolen

2023's Top Vehicle Theft Statistics Show Kia, Hyundai Sedans Most Stolen
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In a notable shift in vehicle theft trends in the United States, sedans from Kia and Hyundai have now surpassed full-size trucks as the most frequently stolen vehicles, according to the latest annual report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released this Thursday.

For 2023, the Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima topped the list of most stolen vehicles, with the Chevy Silverado 1500—a frequent target—falling to fourth place. This increase in vehicle theft of Hyundai and Kia models is attributed to the simplicity with which older models, especially those with keyed ignitions, can be stolen—a vulnerability widely exposed through social media tutorials demonstrating ignition bypassing using tools like USB cables.

2023's Top Vehicle Theft Statistics Show Kia, Hyundai Sedans Most Stolen

The NICB’s report also pointed out a continuous rise in vehicle thefts, a concerning trend since 2019, noting a 1% increase from 2022 to 2023, with over a million vehicles reported stolen this year. Despite trucks constituting a substantial portion of vehicle registrations in the U.S., the focus of vehicle thefts has shifted towards Hyundai and Kia sedans due to their security flaws.

A 2021 study by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that only 26% of 2015 Hyundai and Kia vehicles had passive theft immobilizers, compared to a 96% standard in other vehicles. The frequency of vehicle thefts involving these brands has led to widespread attention and substantial legal consequences, resulting in a $200 million class-action settlement in May 2023 that covered nearly 9 million vehicle owners.

In response to these security challenges, Hyundai and Kia have rolled out a software update aimed at enhancing theft prevention measures. This update includes extended alarm durations and requires the ignition key to be present for the vehicle to start. They have also provided additional anti-theft tools such as steering wheel locks.

2023's Top Vehicle Theft Statistics Show Kia, Hyundai Sedans Most Stolen

Despite these measures, vehicle theft remains a pressing issue nationwide, with criminals employing increasingly sophisticated techniques such as keyless entry hacks and relay attacks on key fobs. David J. Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB, emphasized the growing sophistication of methods used to commit vehicle theft, highlighting the alarming success rates of these techniques. Nevertheless, the NICB reports high recovery rates, with over 85% of stolen vehicles being recovered, underscoring the importance of immediate reporting to law enforcement and insurance providers to improve the chances of recovery.