Kia have been the subject of a surge in car thefts.

By: WWL Staff, March 22, 2024

METAIRIE, La. — A Kia dealership in Jefferson Parish said they would offer free upgrades to drivers from Friday to Sunday amid a car theft trend.

The event has been scheduled from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Shrine on Airline dealership in Metairie.

“Once the software upgrade is completed, Kia techinicians will apply window decal updates to discourage future criminal activity,” Kia representatives said on Friday.  

However, these updates have not always been effective. In April 2023, just 15 hours after a man got a software update at Premier Kia of Kenner, his 2020 Kia Optima was stolen

According to Kia, that theft was the first reported case where a car with a software upgrade was stolen.

The thefts of Kias, and Hyundais started in the summer of 2022, when a viral video showed that key-turn-to-start Kias, and those of their partner company, could be stolen without a key.

The theft of those vehicles – using just USB cords – exploded nationwide after that. A quarter of car thefts in New Orleans in 2022 were Kias and Hyundai vehicles. According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, car thefts then increased in 2023 by 70% over 2022.

The thefts prompted a $200 million class-action lawsuit as well as insurers like State Farm declining coverage for 105 different Kia and Hyundai models.