Hyundai and Kia’s security software implementation was aimed at stopping thefts of their 8.3 million vehicles, but it has failed to do so. Thieves are still taking advantage of an exposed security flaw, with data from seven cities indicating that the number of thefts is still on the rise.
In Minneapolis alone, police have received 1,899 theft reports, which is nearly 18 times the number for the same period in 2022. Nationwide numbers on Hyundai and Kia thefts are not yet publicly available. Videos on social media platforms such as TikTok show how to start and steal Hyundai and Kia models with a screwdriver and a USB cable.
Authorities have linked the theft rate to other crimes, including 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities. Some U.S. cities report that 60% or more of their auto theft reports involve Hyundais or Kias.
Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, believes that the automakers’ service campaign to install the software should have been more aggressively pursued. The software was designed to fix the security flaw and prevent thefts, but its implementation has been ineffective.
Hyundai and Kia have not yet issued a public statement regarding the ongoing thefts of their vehicles. The automakers will need to take swift action to address the security flaw and prevent further thefts and related crimes.