This only applies to vehicles sold new in the US for the 2015 to 2021 model years.
Many Hyundai and Kia vehicles from this period don’t have an engine immobilizer.
Stealing these vehicles became a TikTock challenge across the United States.
Over the last few years, social media trends have led to theft rates for Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the United States increasing to 30 times their 2019 levels.
This is because many of the cars and SUVs produced by both companies for the 2015 to 2021 model years are not equipped with an engine immobilizer, a technology that has been standard on most vehicles for a while already.
The lack of an immobilizer means it is fairly easy to steal Hyundai and Kia models that feature a traditional key in the United States (cars equipped with push button start are not affected and those sold new in Canada were equipped with an immobilizer as standard).
To make matters worse, a technique that can be used to start the engine and drive off in these models was shared on TikTock and gained attraction in the Milwaukee area before spreading to the entire country.
In response to a few insurance companies refusing to issue new policies on the affected vehicles due to their claim rate which is now twice as high as the industry average, Hyundai and Kia have announced a free software fix.
This voluntary recall by both automakers will cover 3,8 million Hyundai vehicles and 4,5 million Kia vehicles.
The fix involves requiring the key to be in the ignition switch to start and lengthening the theft alarm cycle from 30 seconds to one minute. Owners will also be provided with a window sticker to alert would-be thieves that their vehicle is now better protected.
In addition to this measure, both Hyundai and Kia have provided more than 26,000 free steering locks to law enforcement agencies around the country and Kia continues to do so for the moment.
Source: Automotive News