Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp are set to provide a software upgrade to 8.3 million U.S. vehicles to combat increasing thefts of vehicles without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. The move comes in response to a TikTok social media challenge that has become popular nationwide and has reportedly resulted in 14 crashes and eight fatalities.
Hyundai announced that it will be offering a free anti-theft software upgrade to prevent the vehicles from starting through the TikTok-inspired theft method. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that the upgrade will cover 3.8 million Hyundai and 4.5 million Kia U.S. vehicles.
In addition to the software upgrade, Hyundai will also provide customers with a window sticker indicating that the vehicle equipped with anti-theft protection. The upgrade will involve an update to the theft alarm software logic, which will extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute, and require the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.
The initial upgrade will cover more than 1 million 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue model year vehicles, with the software upgrade scheduled to be available for remaining eligible affected vehicles by June.