Kia has declared its commitment to enhancing security measures for its customers in response to the rising use of social media-fueled theft tactics targeting specific vehicle models. In addressing this concern, the company is introducing an additional security feature, namely the ignition cylinder protector, to thwart or deter criminals attempting theft through methods popularized on social media platforms.
The ignition cylinder protector is a hardware modification specifically tailored for vehicle models ineligible for a security software upgrade introduced by Kia earlier this year. It reinforces the ignition cylinder body, preventing its removal through the techniques showcased in widely circulated social media videos that encourage criminal activities.
Scheduled to be available from December 20, this new modification will be offered through a complimentary Customer Satisfaction Initiative for models not qualifying for the software upgrade. After installation, each vehicle will be labeled with window decals to inform potential car thieves about the enhanced theft protection system.
This announcement is part of Kia's ongoing efforts to support its customers and communities affected by criminals utilizing social media-promoted theft methods targeting specific Kia vehicles. Alongside the ignition cylinder protector, Kia has developed a software upgrade that enhances vehicle security by limiting the ignition system's operation if a potential thief tries to steal a locked vehicle without the key. The company strongly advocates for eligible customers to install this software upgrade, with nearly 940,000 installations by dealers since January. Kia has also conducted temporary software upgrade clinics in key cities, with more planned for early 2024.
For models ineligible for the software upgrade, Kia continues to offer free steering wheel locks to affected owners. These locks not only fortify vehicle security but also serve as a visible deterrent to potential thieves. Kia has distributed over 325,000 steering wheel locks to date and remains committed to providing them as needed. Additionally, the company collaborates with local law enforcement agencies and public officials to distribute these locks effectively. Earlier this year, Kia announced an agreement to offer additional benefits to customers impacted by vehicle thefts.