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Hyundai / Kia USA theft problem: car theft via USB cable

Hyundai / Kia USA theft problem: car theft via USB cable

In the United States, a particularly simple steal method is currently observed, which works mainly with Hyundai and Kia models. Should owners in Germany worry, too?

In the statistics of theft in Germany, the Hyundai and Kia brands have so far been somewhat unclear. In the latest assessment by the German Insurance Association (GDV), which refers to 2020, the Koreans occupied a gray midfield: in the year in question, only 275 Hyundais and 154 Kias were stolen. The theft rate, which counts the number of cars stolen against 1,000 registered, is a modest 0.2 either way. For comparison: Leader Land Rover comes in at 1.9.

It’s different in the USA: according to media reports, there has been a marked increase in thefts of Hyundai and Kia models in the recent past. This is because some Korean model chains are particularly porous. The method seems too simple to believe: perhaps thieves can bypass the signal that the key sends to the immobilizer as a prerequisite for starting the engine by connecting a mobile phone to a standard USB charger to a certain circuit in the car Connect the steering column.

Concern about rising domestic car thefts

It is clear that the problem has moved to the headquarters of the concerned US importers. “Our vehicles meet or exceed federal vehicle safety standards, and immobilizers are standard equipment on all new Hyundai vehicles,” said a statement from Hyundai USA, reported by US media. However, this type of auto theft does not work with other brands. According to “Automotive News”, these devices are better equipped with immobilizers.

“Hyundai Motor America is concerned about the increase in domestic vehicle theft,” the statement said. Perhaps this is the case with police authorities in some American communities. It is reported that the administration of the city of Milwaukee in the US state of Wisconsin has already asked Hyundai and Kia to bridge the security gap. However, car manufacturers have not done anything yet; Nothing is known about the corresponding summons.

Security gap also in Germany?

Now Hyundai and Kia owners in Germany have to fear that their cars are easy prey for car thieves. Hyundai Germany reassured: “First of all, this seems to affect models in the US, which usually differ significantly from European models in terms of equipment and sales variants or are not sold in Europe at all,” says the auto-motor- und-sport. de request.


However, in Frankfurt they should take a closer look at the GDV car theft statistics mentioned at the beginning: Accordingly, Hyundai (plus 52.8 percent) and Kia models (plus 63.8 percent) recorded the largest growth in 2020 compared to the previous year under all brands. specified, so they have risen significantly in favor of car thieves. The Kia Stinger was the third most stolen model per 1,000 cars (average: 6.7), Hyundai Santa Fe (3.4; 11th) and Kia Sorento (2.7; 16th) well above average.

Note: In the slideshow at the top of the article, we show you the Kia Telluride, the large seven-seater SUV for the USA, after a 2023 facelift.

opinion poll

Always park your car in the garage.

There is no private security.

I trust the standard immobilizer.


Are the strong increases in recent GDV theft numbers for Hyundai and Kia models a coincidence, a statistical anomaly or a result of the fact that word of the method of petty theft from the US has already spread to European car thieves? So far it can not be said. However, we will be watching closely how both manufacturers and the FTC deal with these anomalies.