Kia Rolls Out New Theft Deterrent Device for Vehicles Not Eligible for Software Upgrade to Fix Theft Vulnerability

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Filed under Automotive, Kia, News

2021 Soul

Kia has taken proactive steps to address the rising threat of vehicle theft, specifically targeting models susceptible to theft methods publicized on social media. The latest addition to Kia’s security arsenal is an ignition cylinder protector designed to reinforce the ignition cylinder body, preventing its removal through theft methods showcased in viral videos.

This hardware modification comes as an additional security measure for vehicle models not eligible for the earlier introduced security software upgrade. The new ignition cylinder protector will be available through a free Customer Satisfaction Initiative for eligible models starting December 20. Following installation, each protected vehicle will be marked with distinctive window decals, serving as a visible deterrent for potential car thieves.

This initiative is part of Kia’s ongoing commitment to customer safety in response to criminals exploiting social media to steal certain vehicle models. The company has been proactive in combating this trend, having introduced a security software upgrade earlier in the year. This software enhancement restricts the operation of a vehicle’s ignition system if an unauthorized attempt is made to start a locked vehicle without the key.

Since January, nearly 940,000 vehicles have received the anti-theft software upgrade, with Kia organizing temporary software upgrade clinics in key cities to facilitate installations. The company plans to continue these efforts into early 2024. Kia has been distributing free steering wheel locks to affected owners of vehicles not eligible for the software upgrade. These locks serve as an additional layer of security and act as a visual deterrent against potential theft.

Greg Silvestri, Vice President of Service Operations at Kia America, emphasized the company’s commitment to vehicle security, stating, “Reinforcing the ignition cylinder body is the latest step to help guard against these methods of theft, and we strongly encourage owners of vehicles that don’t have engine immobilizers and are not able to receive our security software upgrade to have this free security measure installed.”

Kia is actively reaching out to affected owners through various channels, providing instructions to visit the nearest Kia dealership for the free ignition protector installation. Owners can check their vehicle’s eligibility for the software or protector installation by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the Kia Consumer Affairs website.

The subset of eligible vehicles for the new anti-theft measures includes specific models with a key-operated ignition system, such as the Sportage, Forte, Soul, Rio, and Sedona, spanning model years from 2010 to 2022. Kia’s comprehensive approach to addressing the security concerns of its customers reflects a commitment to prioritizing safety and thwarting criminal activities fueled by social media influence.

Subset of Eligible Vehicles with Key Operated Ignition System

▪ 2011 – 2016 Sportage

▪ 2011 – 2016 Forte

▪ 2010 – 2022 Soul

▪ 2011 – 2021 Rio

▪ 2014 Sedona


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