Gwinnett County

Hyundai and Kia roll out new campaign to help put a stop to TikTok challenge that led to car thefts

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Two car makers are rolling out a new way to stop a social media challenge that’s led to thousands of car thefts.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson was in Gwinnett County where this affects Kia and Hyundai cars.

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If you have a Kia that uses a key, thieves have been able to find a way to start and steal your car much easier than with other cars. Now, your key will have to be in the car for it to start.

The TikTok challenge that has led to hundreds if not thousands of Kia and Hyundai thefts in metro Atlanta is about to get harder to pull off.

A picture from a recent metro victim’s Kia showed thieves used a screwdriver and a USB cable to steal it before she says they abandoned it.

Another victim told Channel 2 last year that her Kia had similar damage after thieves stole it.

“It’s like a great white shark took a bite out of the steering wheel, the column was just ripped apart,” Lisa Menero said.


The car manufacturers are issuing software updates for the affected cars. It will require a key to be in the ignition switch for the car to turn on.

Without the key, police are hopeful that thieves won’t be able to make off with the cars so easily.

“We roughly have had about 600 to 700 Kia and Hyundais stolen in our city, which accounts for about 40% of our total numbers,” Lt. Justin Strom said.

The problem has become so big that State Farm insurance stopped accepting new customers that had certain Hyundai or Kia vehicles.

On Monday, a spokesperson tells Johnson, “We are monitoring this situation very closely and will adjust our approach as appropriate.”

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Until the update is rolled out for everyone, some law enforcement agencies have been giving out steering wheel locks to help some victims secure their cars.

The Department of Transportation says eight people have died across the country because of this challenge specifically.

The software update is being rolled out in phases to car owners.