Kia Stolen After Getting The Security Update

So much for having a solution!

Kia and Hyundai have achieved massive sales after offering car shoppers cheap rides. But that came at the price of ridiculous cost-cutting on the behalf of the automakers, including not using engine immobilizers, something which virtually all cars have installed the factory since at least two decades ago. That security vulnerability has led to a rash of thefts as some insurance companies refuse to cover certain Kias and Hyundais in specific areas.

Watch a flashy gold Cadillac Escalade try running from police here.

To fix the problem, Kia came out with a software update that supposedly would stop thieves from using a USB charging cord to start the engine. 19-year-old Taylor Rose of New Orleans excitedly got the update installed at his local dealer in New Orleans, only to have his 2020 Kia Optima stolen a mere 15 hours later.


Kia told WWLTV, the local news station which broke this story, the 2020 Optima was the first reported case of a vehicle with the software update getting stolen. Make of that whatever you will, but it might not be the last.

A few days later, police found Rose’s car sitting on the front of the road and with serious front-end damage. Not only were both front airbags deployed, the steering column shrouding had been pulled back and a USB cable was plugged into the steering column. Supposedly, the software update would have prevented that trick from working.

From the WWLTV report, it sounds like Kia is trying to investigate exactly how thieves were able to swipe the Optima anyway. Some are wondering if the update hadn’t been installed completely or correctly. Others are postulating the security update doesn’t work. Considering this case is a one-off, for now, it’s probably too early to draw any serious conclusions. Still, this case is troubling as many metropolitan areas are grappling with a deluge of Kia and Hyundai thefts week after week.

Meanwhile, Rose and his parents are looking for a vehicle with better security. That shouldn’t be hard to find as long as they stay away from Kias and Hyundais.

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