Hyundai and Kia are updating their cars in response to TikTok theft challenge

Virginia Glaze
Kia Hyundai introduce new security upgrade to cars after kia challenge tiktok trend

Car manufacturers Hyundai and Kia are updating their vehicles in response to a popular TikTok challenge that sparked a wave of car thefts after a hotwiring method went viral online.

Readers may be familiar with the “Kia challenge” after the trend took TikTok by storm in 2022.

The so-called “Kia challenge” was actually just a method for hotwiring certain models of Kia — and Hyundai — vehicles manufactured up until 2021 by connecting a USB cable with a naked ignition switch to start the cars.

The first video responsible for kickstarting the trend (pun intended) was uploaded in July by TikTok user @robbierayyy. The resulting aftermath saw the theft of multiple Kia and Hyundai cars that year.

According to reports from CNBC, the Kia Challenge was connected to an 85% increase in auto thefts for Kia and Hyundai vehicles in the Los Angeles area in 2022 as compared to 2021.

Many Kia and Hyundai owners took to social media to tell their stories after their cars were stolen, and even sued the vehicle manufacturers as thefts continued to rise.

Now, come early 2023, both Kia and Hyundai are reportedly making big updates to their cars as a direct result of the viral “Kia challenge” of 2022.

Kia and Hyundai introduce security upgrade to cars following “Kia challenge” TikTok thefts

The companies are offering these updates free of charge to owners following the rash of thefts last year. According to a statement from Hyundai, the update will consist of a software update that “modifies certain vehicle control modules on Hyundai vehicles equipped with standard ‘turn-key-to-start’ ignition systems.”

“As a result, locking the doors with the key fob will set the factory alarm and activate an ‘ignition kill’ feature so the vehicles cannot be started when subjected to the popularized theft mode. Customers must use the key fob to unlock their vehicles to deactivate the ‘ignition kill’ feature,” the statement continues.

As told by Hyundai, this update will be available for four million vehicles starting February 14 and will be available for any remaining vehicles through June 2023.

This upgrade will be performed by Hyundai dealers and, according to the company, will allegedly take less than one hour to install. After the upgrade is complete, vehicles will receive window decals to dissuade “would-be thieves” about the car’s “enhanced anti-theft technology.”

The Kia challenge was not only illegal, but dangerous; in October 2022, four teenagers passed away after crashing a Kia vehicle they’d stolen reportedly using the “Kia challenge” method.

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