States Push for Recall of Easy-to-Steal Hyundai and Kia Models

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

We’ve been hearing about the TikTok-inspired thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles for a while, including that some insurers have declined to issue new policies on some models. Now, several states are calling on the feds to issue a recall for the cars and fix the problem.

“Kia’s and Hyundai’s failure to install standard safety features on many of their vehicles have put vehicle owners and the public at risk,” said CA Attorney General Rob Bonta. The problem stems from the fact that the cars lack engine immobilizers and can be quickly stolen by almost anyone.

Automotive News pointed out that the two brands’ vehicles accounted for twice the number of theft reports from other automakers, though the companies claim that their vehicles comply with regulations. Immobilizers are not required, but officials claim that the lack of the feature presents a safety risk to owners. 

Regarding solutions, old-school seems to be one of the best ways to go. The Club vehicle steering wheel lock is a popular remedy, and some have been able to design and create custom security systems for vehicles. At the same time, Hyundai and Kia are working on software updates to help prevent thefts, but we don’t know how many vehicles have received the fix so far. 

[Image: Hyundai]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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4 of 27 comments
  • Qwerty shrdlu Qwerty shrdlu on Apr 23, 2023

    You can add an immobilizer, you can go cheap and pull the fuel pump fuse, you can get the manufacturer's fix if it ever comes, but for the next several years you'll need The Club or something similar because thieves can see it before they break your windows.

  • Zerofoo Zerofoo on Apr 24, 2023

    I worked in a car audio shop in the 90s and we used to install a cheap starter kill for people that couldn't afford a real alarm system. It consisted of a relay wired to interrupt the starter wire. We rewired the lighter socket to provide a path to ground for the coil side of the relay. If you didn't push the lighter socket in, you couldn't start the car.

    This would probably work even better today as almost no modern car comes with a cigarette lighter anymore. Many thieves probably don't even know what one looks like.

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Apr 24, 2023

    You shouldn't be able to sue as a state unless you REQUIRED that equipment. Now go pound sand, idiots!

  • SPPPP SPPPP on Apr 25, 2023

    If the design meets FMVSS, then California has no leg to stand on. Are they going to try to start a CSRB (California Safety Resources Board) and bully the rest of the country into special safety standards?