TikTok Videos on Car Theft Go Viral, Sparking Surge in Stolen Cars; New York City Files Lawsuit Against Hyundai

By: Lydia Iseh | Last updated: Nov 15, 2023

Kia and Hyundai are finding themselves in serious trouble as New York City takes legal action against them. You’re probably wondering why states and cities are going through the pain of suing these companies. Well, the reason is not that far-fetched.

The rate at which Kia and Hyundai owners lose their cars to theft has significantly increased. To make matters worse, a group of boys with the TikTok name “Kia Boyz” posted videos on how to steal these cars and even started a TikTok trend encouraging people to post videos of themselves stealing these brands of vehicles. The plot thickens and makes us see how “just a trend” can increase serious crimes.

A Massive Rise in Car Heists

Sadly, the number of stolen cars is getting ridiculously high. The lawsuit cited a news report indicating that in one year, Kia car thefts rose by 241%, and Hyundai car thefts rose by 179%.

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Source: Facebook

What makes this even worse is that these thefts continue to increase. So far, in 2023, both brands have recorded 977 stolen cars. It’s quite concerning to see these numbers go up like that.

Kia and Hyundai Vulnerable Automobile Chronicles

Kia and Hyundai made their cars easy to steal; their failure to install engine immobilizers left a massive security gap. If they were to add engine immobilizers to their cars, they would only start if the vehicle recognizes the specific key that belongs to the car.

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Source: PostingSomeToast/ Reddit

The city’s lawsuit against these companies claims that the Hyundai models from 2015 to 2021 and Kias made between 2011 and 2021 did not have these immobilizers installed.

These Vulnerable Cars are Only Found in the US

These companies put immobilizers in their cars sold in the European Union and Canada. So why did they fail to do so in the cars sold in the US? 

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Source: Royz Fitness/ Pinterest

One would expect that the rise in car thefts would make companies do the right thing by installing immobilizers.

Kia and Hyundai Waking Up

It looks like the lawsuit may yield fruitful results. In the past, car owners won the suit they filed against the companies. In one case, the court made them pay at least 200 million dollars to victims.

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Source: Lebadamotors/ Twitter

Fortunately, it looks like the company is stepping up a bit. The companies gave out wheel locks and released software updates for easy-to-steal cars. With New York now suing them, the companies might find more efficient ways to end these problems for good.