Hyundai offers anti-theft car patches for owners
Hyundai is also working on a software update to further secure targeted vehicles. The company expects the software fix to be available for certain vehicles in the first half of 2023. Software updates for the remaining vehicles will follow.
The list of affected Hyundai models includes certain 2016-21 model year Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade vehicles that use a steel key and do not have an immobilizer.
Vehicles with a start button are not affected. Hyundai says customers can contact local dealers if they are unsure if their vehicle is missing an immobilizer.
Certain 2011-21 Kia vehicles without immobilizers have also been part of the social media driven crime wave. Kia does not have an installation security kit, but will continue to give free steering wheel locks to owners as a prevention method.
Hyundai is also working with law enforcement to distribute free steering wheel locks in hard-hit areas. The Midwest has reported a high number of vehicle thefts since December 2021. The first wave of thefts surfaced in Milwaukee.
The thefts have caused a legal headache for both Korean automakers, which operate as separate entities despite being owned by the same parent company, Hyundai Motor Group.
Fifteen class-action lawsuits have been filed in 14 states, alleging that the targeted Hyundai and Kia vehicles are defective because they do not have an immobilizer and are therefore unsafe because without the immobilizer they could be easily stolen. All lawsuits seek monetary damages against the automakers and the initiation of a nationwide recall.