Software updates implemented by Kia and Hyundai to prevent their vehicles from being stolen has not been working out for Louisville, Kentucky residents, WDRB reports.
According to an update from the Louisville Metro Police released this month, the 8th division alone has seen auto thefts increase by 12% from the same time last year. Between January and August of this year, over 2,000 Kia and Hyundai models were reported stolen, prompting the city of Louisville to file a lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai last month.
Though the automakers released an anti-theft software program in February, this change is not evident to a passerby, causing many thieves to break windows and cause other damages before they realize the vehicle has been updated.
One Kia owner in Louisville has had his vehicle hit by thieves several times this year, with each instance resulting in hundreds of dollars in damages, despite the fact the vehicle never left the owner’s driveway.
Another Kia owner, Bill Watkins, has felt safe in Louisville's Portland neighborhood for the past 71 years, but now fears to park his car on the street. His 2017 Kia Soul was targeted by thieves earlier this month, leaving behind a pile of shattered glass in his yard. Though Watkins has received the software upgrade, it marked the fifth time his car has been the victim of a robbery attempt.
Local shop Sunshine Collision & Auto Service Center is seeing an abundance of Kias and Hyundais that have also been targeted, with nearly every vehicle displaying similar damage: broken rear right windows and a damaged steering column.
Though local police have advised drivers to purchase steering wheel locks, Sunshine Collision’s Jesus Serrano said he’s seen cars with the locks still end up in the shop, damaged.
To better deter thieves from attempting to damage a vehicle, Serrano recommends displaying a sign or sticker in the car that communicates it’s been upgraded.
“It seems like they're not looking inside the car, they're just breaking the window and getting
in there then they notice, but you still have a broken window,” Serrano said. “I've had several customers tell me that's not working out for them.”