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- A trend of breaking into Kia and Hyundai cars began on TikTok last year, spurring an explosion of theft in recent months.
- Now Hyundai, the parent company of Kia Motors, is giving away steering wheel locks to drivers.
- The South Korean carmaker plans to “combat this rise in car theft,” the car maker told Bloomberg.
Hyundai and Kia are offering free steering wheel locks for drivers, as a trend of stealing the cars continues in cities across the US.
Thefts of older car models that lack electronic security features have been on the rise, thanks to the emergence of viral TikTok videos that show how to steal the vehicles and document the burglaries. In an effort to prevent future thefts, Hyundai — which is also the parent company of Kia Motors — is giving out steering wheel locks and urging software updates, Bloomberg reported.
“Hyundai Motor America is committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of our products,” a Hyundai spokesperson told Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, certain models of Hyundai and Kia cars lack an engine immobilizer, an electronic security feature that prevents a car from starting without a key. Thieves have been able to break into certain Kia and Hyundai models en masse, using USBs to start the car.
After the trend first took hold over the summer, Hyundai began reimbursing car owners for purchases of steering wheel locks, as well as providing locks to police departments to give away across the country, according to Bloomberg.
So far this year, more than 100 people have been under suspicion of stealing Hyundai and Kia cars in New York alone, according to Bloomberg.
Hyundai’s software updates and steering wheel lock giveaways come after 20 US state attorneys called on the company to enhance anti-theft measures.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Kia said it will continue to “combat this rise in car theft and the role social media has played in encouraging it.”