“Kia Challenge” does not lead to an increase in car thefts in the Valley

The social media challenge allegedly shows how to steal some models of a Kia or Hyundai using the USB device.

PHOENIX – Videos claim all you need to steal a Kia or Hyundai is a screwdriver and a USB charger.

However, is the claim real? And is it causing an increase in car thefts in the Valley?

The Kia challenge is causing an increase in car thefts.

  • Police Departments of the Valley
  • Come on
  • Hyundai
  • Tik Tok

In the Valley, no. According to Valley Police Departments, there is no noticeable increase in car thefts due to the “Kia Challenge.”

However, other parts of the country, particularly in the Midwest, are experiencing an increase in burglaries.

The challenge exists in social networks. A Tiktok spokesperson confirmed that they have seen and removed videos showing how a person could steal some models of a Kia or Hyundai using a USB port.

“TikTok does not condone this behavior which categorically violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.” a TikTok spokesperson said.

The trend appears to have originated in Milwaukee, where “The Kia Boyz” have been stealing cars for years.

In Arizona, police departments in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale and Tempe say they haven’t seen an increase in car thefts from Kia or Hyundai.

Instead, the most common stolen vehicle is the Chevy Silverado.

However, the technique is used in other parts of the country.

The affected cars are reportedly Kias and Hyundais with steel key “turn to start” configurations that do not have engine immobilizers. Engine immobilizers do not allow an engine to start unless the proper key is present.

Kia provided the following statement about the challenge and what concerned customers can do.

“Kia America remains concerned about the increase in auto thefts of a subset of Kia vehicles. It is unfortunate that criminals are using social media to target vehicles without engine immobilizers in a coordinated effort. All of our vehicles meet or exceed federal motor vehicle safety standards.

While no car can be made theft-proof, criminals look for vehicles equipped solely with a steel key and a “turn-to-start” ignition system. Most Kia vehicles in the United States are equipped with a key fob and a “push-button start” system, making it more difficult to steal. All 2022 Kia models and trims have an immobilizer applied at the start of the model year or as a running change.

Kia America has provided steering wheel locking devices at no cost to law enforcement in affected areas to deter vandalism and theft. This effort will continue in close coordination with local police departments to distribute to interested owners of Kia vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer.

Kia customers with questions about their specific vehicle should contact the Consumer Assistance Center directly at 1-800-333-4542(4Kia).”

Hyundai provided the following statement for its cars:

Hyundai Motor America is concerned about the recent increase in car thefts of certain Hyundai vehicle models. While all of our vehicles meet or exceed federal motor vehicle safety standards, unfortunately, our vehicles have been targeted in a coordinated effort on social media. Criminals target our vehicles without engine immobilizers. Immobilizers became standard on all vehicles produced after November 1, 2021.

To help customers with older model vehicles without an immobilizer, Hyundai has been working and will continue to support local police departments to make steering wheel locks available to affected Hyundai owners. Additionally, Hyundai has identified a Firstech / Compustar security kit that targets the entry method used by thieves to access these vehicles.

Beginning October 1, 2022, this safety kit will be available for purchase and installation at Hyundai dealers and authorized Compustar installers nationwide. Hyundai will provide additional details soon, and customers with questions can always contact the Hyundai Customer Care Center at 800-633-5151.”

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