Hyundai rolls out security kits, at the cost of owners in the Metro

News 4's Gabriela Vidal reports on why the fix to prevent Kia and Hyundai thefts is proving costly.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 7:11 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - It is a tale that’s become all too familiar for both Kia and Hyundai owners across the Metro

“I’ve never had a car stolen before, just this one,” said Robin Walz, whose 2017 Hyundai Elantra was stolen over the weekend.

It has even impacted those living outside the Metro, like Gavin Schultz. She and her family were visiting her daughter in college two weekends ago, when someone swiped her Hyundai outside their hotel.

“We look down and there’s broken glass and what looked like a piece of like a windshield or window of some sort,” said Gavin Schultz. “We do get a call from the St. Louis Police Department that our car had been located. It was out near the airport.”

Yet, it’s been more than a week since that call.

“Police have not released the car back to us yet. So, it’s still in St. Louis. We don’t know what the holdup is,” said Schultz.

Their frustration is mounting, especially against both car manufacturers.

“They say it’s not their fault. They’re not taking responsibility for this,” said Walz.

This weekend, October 1st, marked the starting point for when Hyundai said glass break sensor security kits would be available to the public, in an effort to prevent thieves from breaking into some of the manufacturer’s older models.

A spokesperson for Hyundai tells News 4 they are now available at Hyundai dealerships and Compustar authorized installers across the country.

News 4 reached out to multiple Hyundai dealerships in the Metro to verify if they have received these kits, but have not heard back yet.

Yet the big catch for car owners now is how much they will have to foot the bill for these security kits.

A Hyundai spokesperson says the kit will be sold at an MSRP of $170. Installation would be a separate cost. News 4 asked local authorized installers, who say that kind of installation costs upwards of $300 additional dollars.

Hyundai owners say they are frustrated with this solution, saying it puts the financial burden on them to keep their car safe.

“No, absolutely not. You want to give me the security for free...I’ll bring the car right to a Hyundai dealership, and you can put it in for free. I’ll do that in a heartbeat. But to charge us for it, absolutely not,” said Schultz.

Hyundai says they are also developing additional software to secure these targeted vehicles further:

“We anticipate that this software update will become available for certain vehicles in the first half of 2023, with updates for other vehicles following thereafter.”

KIA, on the other hand, has as only helped provide steering wheel locks to local law enforcement agencies, but the manufacturer has not indicated any immediate moves to address car owners’ concerns:

“While no car can be made theft-proof, criminals are seeking vehicles solely equipped with a steel key and “turn-to-start” ignition system. The majority of Kia vehicles in the United States are equipped with a key fob and “push-button-to-start” system, making them more difficult to steal. All 2022 Kia models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the model year or as a running change.

Kia America has provided steering wheel lock devices at no cost to law enforcement in affected areas to deter vandalism and theft. That effort will continue in close coordination with local police departments for distribution to concerned owners of Kia vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer.”

Yet, people like Walz say this effort is not enough.

“I think they should do something about that and not keep making cars. [Because] if I have to go find another car, I’ll never get a Hyundai Elantra again,” said Walz.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police tell News 4 they’ve reported 5,077 motor vehicle theft incidents this year. Of those, 1,369 were Hyundai vehicles and 1,332 were KIAs. At the same time last year, the city reported 2,957 motor vehicle thefts, with 103 being Hyundai and 112 KIAs.