The theft of older Hyundai vehicles has rapidly become a growing trend on social media recently, with thieves across the country posting their joy rides on TikTok and other social media channels. After announcing a security kit last October, the automaker is taking further action with a new software upgrade for the anti-theft system in affected vehicles.
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Nearly all the affected models targeted by thieves are lacking two things: push-button start and immobilizer technology. The software upgrade attempts to make these vehicles more resilient to theft by modifying their vehicle control modules to not only activate the factory alarm when locking the doors, but also a special “ignition kill” feature that prevents thieves from starting the vehicle. Owners can only turn the feature off by using the key fob to properly unlock their vehicle.
Hyundai plans to introduce the upgrade as part of a broader service campaign for about 4 million vehicles. The first million vehicles slated to get the upgrade are model-year 2017-20 Elantras, model-year 2015-19 Sonatas and model-year 2020-21 Venues. The following models will be included in a second wave of upgrades in June 2023:
- 2018-22 Accent
- 2011-16, 2021-22 Elantra
- 2018-20 Elantra GT
- 2011-14 Genesis Coupe
- 2018-22 Kona
- 2020-21 Palisade
- 2013-22 Santa Fe
- 2013-18 Santa Fe Sport
- 2019 Santa Fe XL
- 2011-14 Sonata
- 2011-22 Tucson
- 2012-17, 2019-21 Veloster
While the upgrade will help fix the majority of these vehicles, the automaker also confirmed that some 2011-22 models that don’t have engine-immobilizer technology cannot accept the new software upgrade. Hyundai is planning to help these customers with a separate campaign that will reimburse them for the cost of purchasing steering-wheel locks; more details will be released on that program in the future.
“Hyundai is committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of our products through continuous improvement and is pleased to provide affected customers with an additional theft deterrent through this software upgrade” stated Randy Parker, CEO of Hyundai North America. “We have prioritized the upgrade’s availability for owners and lessees of our highest selling vehicles and those most targeted by thieves in order for dealers to service them first.”
Hyundai will be advising affected customers of the anti-theft service campaign through mail, email, phone and a dedicated website to bring their vehicle to their local Hyundai dealer, where they will get the upgrade installed for free. More information is available at Hyundai’s anti-theft software website, where customers can enter their vehicle identification number to see if their vehicle is eligible.
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