Hyundai, Kia update security after TikTok challenge thefts

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. raft / ræft / (n.) – a large number of people or things

    Online stores help us access a raft of products.

  2. fatality / feɪˈtæl ɪ ti / (n.) – a death caused by a disaster, an accident, etc.

    Every year, traffic accidents cause around 1.3 million fatalities worldwide.

  3. rampant / ˈræm pənt / (adj.) – describing something that’s very common or quickly getting worse and uncontrolled

    Crime became rampant when the area became a famous tourist spot.

  4. immobilizer / ɪˈmoʊ bəl aɪ zər / (n.) – a device that stops the car from starting unless the right key is used

    Immobilizers reduce a car’s chance of being stolen by 40%.

  5. hot-wire / ˈhɒtˈwaɪər / (v.) – to start a car engine without a key

    We had to hot-wire my friend’s car when he lost his keys while hiking.


Read the text below.

Hyundai and Kia are rolling out software updates to stem a raft of auto thefts related to a TikTok challenge that authorities believe has led to at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities.

The updates are free for millions of vehicles that are missing a key anti-theft device, an issue that was exploited on social media and led to rampant theft of the cars.

The software being released updates the theft alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.

About 3.8 million Hyundais and 4.5 million Kias are eligible for the software update, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

Hyundai said updates began for nearly 4 million vehicles beginning with a million model year 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles. The software upgrade is scheduled to be available for the remaining eligible vehicles by June.

In September 2022, the Highway Loss Data Institute, a unit of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that Hyundais and Kias without immobilizers had a vehicle theft claim rate of 2.18 per 1,000 insured vehicle years. The rest of the industry combined had a rate of 1.21. An insured vehicle year is equal to one vehicle insured for one year.

The institute compared vehicles from the 2015 through 2019 model years. It studied vehicle theft claims from 2021.

Hyundai says all models produced after Nov. 1, 2021, have immobilizers as standard equipment.

A TikTok social media challenge put a spotlight on the vehicles’ lack of an immobilizer and resulted in at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities, according to the NHTSA. The challenge shows TikTok viewers how to hot-wire Kia and Hyundai cars with a USB cord and a screwdriver.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The challenge shows TikTok viewers how to hot-wire Kia and Hyundai cars. What do you think TikTok should do with the users who spread or started the challenge (ex. ban them, remove all their content)? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think TikTok should be held responsible for the recent thefts and fatalities? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • A TikTok social media challenge put a spotlight on the vehicles’ lack of an immobilizer and resulted in some fatal crashes. Why do you think some social media users are doing these challenges? Discuss.
  • What do you think is the good thing about social media challenges? Discuss.