A trending TikTok challenge publicising a technique for stealing specific makes and models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles caused vehicle thefts to skyrocket across the country, according to reports from several police departments.
Kia and its parent company, Hyundai, are now being sued by irate customers. A national class action lawsuit was filed against the automakers on Wednesday for a defect revealed by the challenge. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Orange County, California, claims that Kias built between 2011 and 2021 and Hyundais built between 2015 and 2021 that had traditional key engines rather than keyless fobs were “deliberately” built without “engine immobilisers.” This seemingly critical, low-cost, and widely used device is intended to keep cars from being hot-wired and stolen. According to the complaint, virtually every carmaker in the last 20 years has used it, but Kia and Hyundai did not, resulting in easy car swiping by children.