Kia, Hyundai Offers Software Upgrade to US Vehicles to Prevent Thefts

Automobile Technology

According to a statement released by the Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp., the companies will provide software upgrades to 8.3 million vehicles in the United States in order to assist in reducing the rising number of vehicle thefts by employing a strategy that is well-liked on TikTok and other social media platforms.

Videos on TikTok that demonstrate how to steal vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2019 without push-button ignitions or immobilizing anti-theft devices have spread across the nation. At least 14 crashes had been reported, and eight people had died as a result, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to the automakers and the NHTSA, the free upgrade will be available for 3.8 million Hyundai and 4.5 million Kia vehicles in the United States.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the software updates the theft alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.

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Electronic immobilizers, which prevent break-ins and allow thieves to bypass the ignition, are missing from many Hyundai and Kia vehicles from the 2015 to 2019 model years. Almost all of the vehicles produced by other manufacturers during that time period included this feature as standard.

The group said that overall claims on Hyundai and Kia thefts per insured vehicle year soared to more than 30 times the 2019 level after the Korean car thefts, which began in 2021 and received significant social media attention in Wisconsin and then spread.

Additionally, Hyundai will provide a window sticker that informs potential thieves that the vehicle has anti-theft protection.

More than one million 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles will all receive the initial Hyundai upgrade. For vehicles that are still eligible, the software upgrade is expected to be available in June.

According to Kia, the company has begun informing owners of the upgrade and plans to make it available to the majority of owners within the next few months. Since November 2022, the automakers have given over 26,000 steering wheel locks to 77 law enforcement agencies in 12 states.

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Subject to availability, Kia said that it continues to make steering wheel locks available at no cost through interested local law enforcement agencies. An engine immobilizer is standard equipment on all Hyundai vehicles manufactured after November 2021.


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