The ‘Kia Challenge’ has not increased the number of car thefts in the valley

A social media challenge speculates how to steal some Kia or Hyundai models with a USB device.

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

But, is the claim true? And is it increasing the number of car thefts in the valley?

Kia Challenges Increase in Car Thefts

  • Valley Police Departments
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  • Hyundai
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In the valley, no. According to the Valley Police Department, there has been no significant increase in car thefts due to the “Kia Challenge”.

However, in other parts of the country, especially in the Midwest, thefts are on the rise.

There is a challenge in social media. A TikTok spokesperson confirmed that they have seen and removed videos showing how a person can steal some Kia or Hyundai models with a USB port.

“TikTok does not support this behavior which clearly violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.” A TikTok spokesperson said.

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

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

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

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

According to reports, the affected cars are Kias and Hyundais with a steel key “turn-to-start” setup that does not have an engine immobilizer. Engine immobilizers do not allow the 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 is concerned about the increase in auto theft 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.

No car can be made theft-proof, criminals are only looking for vehicles equipped 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-to-start” system, making them more difficult to steal. All 2022 Kia models and trims have an immobilizer implemented at the beginning of the model year or as an ongoing change.

Kia America has provided steering wheel lock devices at no cost to law enforcement in the affected areas to prevent vandalism and theft. That effort will continue in close coordination with local police departments for distribution to concerned 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 a recent increase in auto theft of certain Hyundai models. 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 are targeting our vehicles without engine immobilizers. Immobilizers became standard on all vehicles produced after November 1, 2021.

To assist customers with previous model year vehicles without an immobilizer, Hyundai has and will continue to work with local police departments to provide steering wheel locks for affected Hyundai owners. In addition, Hyundai has identified a FirstTech / Compustar security kit that targets the methods that burglars are using to access these vehicles.

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

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