South Korean automaker Kia (KIMTF) – Get Free Report has been under scrutiny about the security of its vehicles ever since videos involving “Kia Boyz” have gone viral and exposed security vulnerabilities in its cars.
In a statement, Kia announced that it will be rolling out a program that will install a new “theft deterrent device” for vehicles not covered under last year’s software update.
Said “deterrent device” is a dealer-installed ignition cylinder protector, which according to Kia, “works to combat theft by reinforcing the ignition cylinder body.”
With it installed, Kia stated that the protector prevents potential thieves and wannabe “Kia Boyz” from removing the ignition cylinder, a key step in the method of theft depicted in “instructional” videos that have gone viral across social media platforms like TikTok.
A Kia Sportage compact SUV at Brussels Expo on January 13, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.
According to Kia, cars with this modification added will receive window decals warning potential thieves.
Eligible cars for the fix include the 2014 Sedona minivan, 2011–2016 Sportage crossover, 2010–2021 Soul crossover, 2011–2021 Rio subcompact sedan and the 2011–2016 Forte compact sedan.
“Vehicle security is a top priority for Kia and we continue to take action to support our customers by helping to protect their vehicles from thefts, which have been encouraged by content spread across social media,” Kia America service operations Greg Silvestri said in a statement. “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 said that last year’s anti-theft software update was installed in more than 940,000 vehicles since last year and that the company has given out more than 325,000 steering wheel locks through its dealers, local law enforcement and public officials. The automaker said that it will continue to provide wheel locks if needed.
Owners will be contacted with instructions to bring their vehicle to the nearest Kia dealership to have the free ignition protector installed.
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