Too easy to steal
The US federal government is urged to recall millions of Kia and Hyundai cars as they are … too easy to steal. TikTok videos have shown how people can start Kia and Hyundai models by using only a screwdriver and a USB cable.
The call has been made by attorneys general in 17 US states. These cars are too easy to steal because they do not have engine immobilizers, a device that prevents the engine from starting unless the key is present.
“Hyundai and Kia continued to fail to adequately respond by creating cars that can be started without the key, cars that don’t come with anti-theft devices that are standard across the country. Even standard in cars Kia and Hyundai manufacture in other countries like Canada and Europe. Hyundai and Kia have left us no choice but to call on the federal government to either order a mandatory recall or work with the companies to institute a voluntary recall of the affected vehicles” – Rob Bonta, California Attorney General said during a news conference in Berkely, California.
The sharp increase in thefts is a result of viral social media clips in which people learn how to start Kia and Hyundai models without a key, using only a screwdriver and a USB cable.
Some Kia and Hyundai cars sold in the United States over the last decade do not have engine immobilizers. These blocking systems are standard features for most cars. Thieves cannot hot-wire a car, or starting it without using a key.
In Los Angeles, thefts of Hyundai and Kia cars increased by about 85 per cent last year.
in 2022, now accounting for 20% of all car thefts in the city, according to the California attorney general’s office.
The letter requesting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall such cars nationwide was signed by attorneys general from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
The two South-Korea based car makers announced earlier that they would provide software updates for vehicles that require the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the car on. About 3.8 million Hyundai cars and 4.5 million Kia cars are eligible for the software update.