Hyundai is providing a free anti-theft software update for Hyundai owners in Chicago in response to the significant increase in motor vehicle thefts in the city. The installation event will take place from Friday to Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field’s “G” parking lot. The initiative comes as motor vehicle thefts in Chicago have risen by 59% this year and 232% since 2019, with nearly 25,000 thefts reported so far in 2023.
The surge in car thefts is primarily driven by stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles, which have become popular targets for thieves due to viral videos and “how-to” instructions shared on social media. In August, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai, alleging negligence for not installing “industry-standard” engine immobilizers to prevent thefts. The lawsuit claims that the cars can be easily stolen by removing a plastic cover on the steering column and using a USB cable to start the engine.
Hyundai has been distributing steering wheel locks and implementing software updates since the spread of the viral theft videos two years ago. The vulnerability affects numerous Hyundai and Kia models manufactured between 2011 and 2022. The software installation at Guaranteed Rate Field is expected to take approximately 15 minutes, and Hyundai owners will also receive free steering wheel locks. Alternatively, owners can visit their local Hyundai dealership for the software update.
Chicago is one of several cities that have sued Kia and Hyundai over the issue. The city’s lawsuit claims that the software fixes provided by the manufacturers have been ineffective, and they have not fulfilled their promises to supply steering wheel locks. The Chicago Police Department’s Chief of Detectives, Antoinette Ursitti, expressed gratitude to Hyundai for providing the locks, emphasizing that stolen vehicles are often used in secondary crimes such as armed robberies.
Hyundai plans to set up “mobile clinics” in five U.S. locations to offer anti-theft software upgrades for vehicles. After the event in Chicago, the clinics will move to other cities. The company aims to collaborate with communities and address the issue of vehicle theft to ensure the safety and security of all residents.