After a wave of Hyundai and Kia car thefts, and viral social media posts showing how to execute said car thefts, Hyundai has finally released a security fix for its vehicles. Millions of Hyundai/Kia owners can now feel some sense of safety knowing that their cars won’t be so easily stolen. But as Automotive News reports, that fix will have to be on the owner’s dime.
To recount, in late 2021, the city of Milwaukee was plagued by a rash of thefts specifically targeting Hyundai and Kia models. At the time, no one really knew or understood why. The thefts were so abundant that the city threatened to sue Hyundai — saying the automaker’s vehicles were becoming a public nuisance, chalking it up to poor design.
The number of thefts would get progressively worse when videos began appearing on social media showing how easy it was to steal those problematic Hyundais and Kias. By this time, Hyundai and Kia thefts had been on the rise nationwide. The videos only made it worse. Keep in mind, during this entire period, no recall was issued for any of those easily stolen vehicles.
Now, months following the theft of thousands of vehicles — Hyundai has a solution in the form of a security kit. You’d think maybe Hyundai would cover the costs of the kit, considering they’re the ones that designed the vehicle’s security flaw. But that’s not the case. Owners will have to open their own wallets to keep cars in driveways.
The kit, made available October 1, is being offered for $170 through an aftermarket company called Compustar. A Hyundai spokesperson says all U.S. Hyundai dealers are authorized to install the kit. However, be prepared not only for a wait, but more money coming out of the wallet, as the spokesperson said the installation takes “about 2.5 hours to complete.”
If you read that right, Hyundai is not covering the labor for the installation either. Jonathan Michaels, the principal attorney who filed a class action lawsuit against Hyundai says that labor bill from the dealership could cost owners at least $500.
In addition to the kit and the installation, Hyundai is also rolling out a software update that will drop in the first half of 2023. The update is required for “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.” Hopefully this part of the “fix” is free.
So to recap, Hyundai and Kia designed vehicles with a fatal security flaw that allows them to be easily stolen, thousands of vehicle owners are affected, they never roll out a recall for the flaw, an outside company creates a pricey fix for it, and then Hyundai wants owners to pay for it, as well as the cost for the dealer to install said fix because, of course. Honestly, I smell another class action suit coming.