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Hyundai Introduces Free Anti-theft Software Upgrade

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In response to increasing thefts targeting its vehicles without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices in the United States, Hyundai is introducing a free anti-theft software upgrade to prevent the cars from starting during a method of theft popularized on TikTok and other social media channels.

The technology will be launched as a service campaign for almost 4 million vehicles beginning on February 14, with the upgrade rolling out first to more than 1 million the model year 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles.

The software upgrade will be available for the remaining eligible affected vehicles by June 2023 (see chart below). The free upgrade will be performed by Hyundai dealers and will take less than one hour to install. Following completion of the upgrade, each vehicle will be affixed with window decals to alert would-be thieves that the vehicle is equipped with enhanced anti-theft technology.

“Hyundai is committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of our products through continuous improvement and is pleased to provide affected customers with an additional theft deterrent through this software upgrade,” said Randy Parker, CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “We have prioritized the upgrade’s availability for owners and lessees of our highest-selling vehicles and those most targeted by thieves for dealers to service them first.”

All Hyundai vehicles produced since November 2021 are equipped with an engine immobilizer as standard equipment. Hyundai also provides free steering wheel locks to law enforcement agencies for distribution to residents who own or lease affected models.

Some 2011-2022 model-year vehicles without engine immobilizers cannot accommodate the software upgrade. For these customers, Hyundai is finalizing a program to reimburse them for their purchase of steering wheel locks. Hyundai will provide these customers with more detail very shortly.

Software Upgrade Details

The software upgrade modifies specific vehicle control modules on Hyundai vehicles equipped with standard “turn-key-to-start” ignition systems. As a result, locking the doors with the key fob will set the factory alarm and activate an “ignition kill” feature so the vehicles cannot be started when subjected to the popularized theft mode. Customers must use the key fob to unlock their cars to deactivate the “ignition kill” feature.

Hyundai is notifying customers about the anti-theft service campaign through multiple points of contact (e.g., mail, email, outbound phone contact and a dedicated website) with instructions to bring their vehicle to the nearest Hyundai dealership to have the free software installed. 

Service Campaign Rollout Schedule
Phase
Vehicle
Software Availability

1

2017-2020 Elantra

2015-2019 Sonata

2020-2021 Venue

February 14, 2023

2

2018-2022 Accent

2011-2016 Elantra

2021-2022 Elantra

2018-2020 Elantra GT

2011-2014 Genesis Coupe

2018-2022 Kona

2020-2021 Palisade

2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport

2013-2022 Santa Fe

2019 Santa Fe XL

2011-2014 Sonata

2011-2022 Tucson

2012-2017, 2019-2021 Veloster

June 2023

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