NEW ORLEANS — After a spike in thefts thanks to a vulnerability in their vehicles’ ignition system, Kia and Hyundai tell Eyewitness News they are both working on software updates to protect their vehicles most vulnerable to theft.
Several models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles, which do not have engine immobilizers installed, have been stolen at twice the rate of other models of vehicles nationwide. About a quarter of vehicles stole in New Orleans in 2022 were Kia and Hyundai models.
In a statement, Kia wrote to Eyewitness News: “Kia has been been developing and testing enhanced security software for vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer and has started notifying owners of certain models of the availability of this software upgrade at no cost to consumers. Kia anticipates that it will make software upgrades available for most affected vehicles by mid-2023.”
Thursday evening, Hyundai confirmed a similar project to Eyewitness News. They say their software should be available “early next month” and should deter thefts of affected vehicles. A Hyundai spokesperson said it will have more details on the software closer to the release date.
In a story WWL-TV broke Wednesday, State Farm insurance has deemed more than 100 models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles ‘ineligible’ for new coverage in Louisiana and some other states after a spike in thefts of those vehicles.
Progressive Insurance has also restricted coverage for affected Kia and Hyundai vehicles in several states, which currently does not include Louisiana.
Both Hyundai and Kia say they believe these insurance restrictions will be temporary.