Big 3 automakers issue responses after call to take action on security issue involving key fobs

Posted at 12:37 PM, Apr 19, 2021

(WXYZ) — Your car could be easily stolen if you use a key fob.

RELATED: Dodge to fix security issue allowing easy theft of Chargers, Challengers after 7 Action News report

The Detroit Big 3 carmakers know it. Your car insurance company knows it. Police know it. If you use a key fob to operate your car, your car can be stolen, sometimes within only a few seconds.

Both consumers and officials are calling on the Big 3 to do something about the problem.

7 Action News first reported on an epidemic of stolen high-performance vehicles this year after an internal Michigan State Police bulletin that spelled out how easy it is for the vehicles to be stolen by making a new key fob and driving off within seconds.

In response, Detroit Police Chief James Craig contacted Dodge to fix the security gap.

“It’s not just Dodge. I don’t want to put it on Dodge because this device can be used to hack into almost any kind of car," Craig said."

Lt. Willie Duncan heads up Detroit Police Commercial Auto Theft.

He tells 7 Action News this security issue affects GM, Ford and other models made by Stellantis. And Lt. Duncan says to the Detroit Big 3, “We need your help. The customers want your help. The insurance companies are definitely asking for your help. Something needs to be done."

Insurance companies have an entity called the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Its president and CEO David Glawe tells 7 Action News people who have their cars stolen will end up paying."

“Clearly the cost of the losses are passed on through the insurance industry to the public." Glawe said. "So, that’s our prime mission, is to look for those vulnerabilities.”

Glawe said the top vehicles stolen in Michigan are Ford pickups, Ford Fusions, Jeep Cherokees and Chevy Impalas.”

Dodge is part of Stellantis. The company has issued this statement:

We don't discuss future product plans. Every Stellantis vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards. The previously announced supplement to vehicle security is consistent with our continuous pursuit of product improvement. The security and protection of our customers are unsurpassed priorities at Stellantis.

Ford issued the following statement in response:

Ford has measures in place to mitigate this style of attack and as technology continues to advance and new threats arise, Ford’s cybersecurity measures are always evolving to provide customers with the highest level of safety and security possible. However, as a matter of policy, we typically do not comment on specific security-related actions.

General Motors issued the following response:

“General Motors is aware of the risk of vehicle theft via key programming mechanisms. Safety and security are priorities for us and our customers. Therefore, we continually strengthen our vehicle security measures and have included constraints in the process to deter key fob programming from being used as a theft method.”