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Hyundai and Kia will pay $200 million over car thefts prompted by ‘Kia Boyz’ TikTok videos

Published May 19th, 2023 12:00PM EDT
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There’s a lot going on with TikTok lately, but who would have ever thought that a TikTok video would lead to a major carmaker having to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to people?

Well, that’s exactly what has happened. Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay out $200 million in damages to settle a class action lawsuit brought against the companies due to a series of car thefts prompted by — you guessed it — TikTok videos.

The thefts were caused due to TikTokers called the “Kia Boyz” who showed people that a range of Hyundai and Kia vehicles were vulnerable to theft. According to the videos, some vehicles’ security systems could be bypassed using tools as simple as a USB cable. The “Kia Challenge,” as it were, showed people how to use these bypass methods to steal some models. Forget the national security stuff — this is why we don’t use TikTok, people! Don’t crime!

As reported by The Verge, the thefts were made possible because a number of models between 2015-2019 lacked parts that would help prevent such thefts. In order to prevent ongoing thefts, the company is offering a software update to require keys in the ignition and longer alarms, wheel locks, and straight cash for customers who have been impacted by thefts.

In a statement, Jason Erb, the chief legal officer of Hyundai Motor North America, said that “customer security remains a top priority” and that the company will also offer insurance options through AAA.

“We appreciate the opportunity to provide additional support for our owners who have been impacted by increasing and persistent criminal activity targeting our vehicles. Customer security remains a top priority, and we’re committed to continuing software upgrade installations and steering wheel lock distribution to help prevent thefts and offering insurance options through AAA for those who have had difficulty securing and sustaining coverage.”

As Hyundai and Kia deal with their cars being stolen due to a TikTok challenge, other automakers are also running into issues. Tesla, for example, is under investigation due to reports that the steering wheel in the Model Y is falling off.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.

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