Hyundai also is working on a software update to further secure targeted vehicles. The company anticipates the software fix will be available for certain vehicles in the first half of 2023. Software updates for 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 engine immobilizer.
Vehicles with push-button start are not affected. Hyundai says that customers can reach out to local dealers if they are not sure whether their vehicle lacks an immobilizer.
Certain 2011-21 Kia vehicles without engine immobilizers also have been part of the social media-driven crime wave. Kia does not have a security kit for installation but will continue to distribute free steering wheel locks to owners as a method of prevention.
Hyundai also is working with law enforcement to distribute free steering wheel locks in areas that have been most impacted. The Midwest has reported a high number of vehicle thefts since December 2021. The first surge of thefts surfaced in Milwaukee.
The thefts have caused a legal headache for both Korean automakers, who operate as separate entities despite being owned by the same parent company, Hyundai Motor Group.
Fifteen class actions suits have been filed in 14 states alleging that the targeted Hyundai and Kia vehicles are defective because they lack an immobilizer, and therefore unsafe because without the immobilizer they can easily be stolen. All of the lawsuits seek monetary damages against the automakers and an initiation of a nationwide recall.