AAA and Hyundai partner to end auto theft popularized by TikTok trend

Insurers AAA and Hyundai Motor America have announced a partnership to combat the viral “Kia Challenge,” a theft method popularized by TikTok and other social media platforms that target certain makes and models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. This trend teaches and encourages people to break into cars that use a standard ignition key rather than a key fob and a push-to-start button.

AAA and Hyundai are working together to end the trend of Hyundai car theft by launching a new insurance program for owners of specific Hyundai models. The program, available in some states, will offer new or extended policies to owners of vehicles without push-button ignition or engine immobilizers, which are electrical anti-theft devices that prevent the vehicle from starting without the correct key.

“AAA is about people care,” Marshall Doni, CEO and President of AAA, Inc., said in a press statement. “Cooperating with Hyundai on this issue to help customers find a viable solution felt like a natural fit for us.”

Free anti-theft software updates are also now available for all eligible vehicles, an estimated 4 million vehicles, and customers can get the new software installed by visiting a Hyundai dealership. Hyundai The anti-theft software update information page explains that the update works by changing “certain vehicle control modules on Hyundai vehicles equipped with standard start-up turnkey ignition systems.” The result is locking the doors with the fob factory alarm and activating the “ignition off” feature so that the car cannot be started when it is subjected to the popular theft mode. Customers must use the key fob to unlock their vehicles in order to deactivate the “ignition off” feature.

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For vehicles that cannot be updated with a software update, especially for some 2011-2022 models, Hyundai will refund customers for the purchase of steering wheel locks or offer some compensation for a different type of anti-theft device.

Thefts rose across the country; For example, Los Angeles reported an 85% increase. in Hyundai and Kia car thefts in 2022 and until January 2023 57% of all city vehicle thefts in Philadelphia Hyundai and Kias were stolen. Some auto insurers even decided to no longer write policies in certain US regions for older Kia and Hyundai models that have been targeted by the TikTok trend.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging affected customers to contact Hyundai for information on the update as the organization reports a direct danger to the trend with at least 14 accidents and eight deaths were recorded.

“We are excited to partner with AAA insurers for the benefit of our mutual customers and provide support to those who are having difficulty obtaining and maintaining auto insurance as a result of increased criminal activity against Hyundai vehicles,” said Randy Parker, CEO. Hyundai Motor America, in a press release. “Our goal is to get each of these vehicles to the dealership for a free software update.”

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