But are they just being made into scapegoats?
A new report from the Daily Mail shines a big light on the problem of car theft, something we’ve been sounding the alarm on for a while now. More and more vehicles are being stolen in communities across the United States as well as in Canada, the UK, Australia, and plenty of other countries. And with theft rates more than doubling versus last year in certain US cities we would hope everyone would be focusing on root causes. Unfortunately, there’s a new scapegoat to blame the entire problem on: Kia and Hyundai.
That’s right, in many of these cities where car thefts are completely out of control officials are laying the blame on Kia and Hyundai. While it was definitely not smart of the two Korean automakers to sell millions of vehicles without engine immobilizers, something that’s been standard equipment in virtually every vehicle sold in this country for the past 20-plus years, to say the entirety of the problem is caused by them is ridiculous.
When car theft first started to climb in 2019, many media outlets tried ignoring the problem. However, it exploded to the point they no longer could by about April of 2020. The excuse for the increase in car thefts was that covid lockdowns were causing them. While the lockdowns might have made finding cars that were just sitting for days on end easier for thieves, the trend had begun before anyone knew about the virus.
We’ve seen a dramatic increase in vehicle thefts since then. Since covid has faded into the rearview mirror, we were hopeful that everyone would realize there are problems with policing, the courts, and societal values fueling the trend. Instead, it’s now the fault of Kia and Hyundai.
While the lack of engine immobilizers, combined with kids posting tutorials on how to boost Kias and Hyundais via TikTok and other social media platforms, certainly isn’t helping things, we know for a fact not all the cars being stolen are Korean. But the media conveniently shifts to characterizing the theft trend as only encompassing those two brands.
For their part, Kia and Hyundai have recalled the vehicles lacking immobilizers and will install a security fix, something we’ve detailed out before. But we’d be willing to bet even if every owner had that work done, car thefts would continue trending upward. After all, these theft rings have sophisticated, expensive equipment at their disposal for swiping more advanced vehicles, and with few consequences they’re making hay while the sun shines.
Images via Facebook