A multinational automotive manufacturer is partnering with a North Texas police department to give vehicle owners some peace of mind.

Hyundai and the Carrollton Police Department are providing complimentary steering wheel locks and anti-theft software updates to Hyundai owners.

The Dallas Express spoke with Hyundai’s vice president, Dave VandeLinde, to learn more.

According to VandeLinde, a pronounced rise in auto thefts began in the summer of 2021 after a TikTok video was released by a group of teenage criminals known as the Kia Boys.

Kia Boys made videos showing a “very specific way to steal” Hyundai and Kia vehicles, targeting cars that did not have key immobilizer technology, VandeLinde explained.

“They would use a USB and use pliers as well … as a turning mechanism as if it were the key for the vehicle,” VandeLinde told DX.

Hyundai decided to take action and create a software solution.

Initially, Hyundai released a basic alarm system to dealerships to give them “access to a fast solution,” VandeLinde said. “We also started building relationships with police departments nationwide and distributing steering wheel locks.”

In February 2023, Hyundai launched several security software packages to fit up to 3.7 million Hyundai vehicles. Since then, the software has been distributed to Hyundai vehicle owners at no charge across 28 cities.

The software package launch has reached several Texas cities, including Austin, El Paso, Houston, San Antonio, and now Dallas.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas has become ground zero in the North Texas area for motor vehicle thefts, hitting record-breaking highs last year amid the Dallas Police Department’s serious staffing shortage.

There have been 7,878 auto thefts logged this year as of July 1, according to the City of Dallas crime analytics dashboard. Relatedly, Downtown Dallas is a hotspot for such crimes, with the neighborhood regularly outpacing Fort Worth’s city center in terms of incidents.

The software upgrade is roughly a 30-minute process during which an engineer connects a wireless device called a BCI to download the software updates specific to the vehicle. The update is verified through a theft-like test.

“The lock and unlock button will serve as an on-and-off for the software, so it’s very intuitive for the customer,” VandeLinde explained. “They don’t have to do anything different to arm the immobilizer technology. You just get out of the car and hit the same lock button you’ve always hit, and it will activate the immobilizer technology.”

VandeLinde compared the technology to two-factor authentication.

“You need to see the ignition turning, but you also need that off signal from the owner, and if it doesn’t see that, then the car won’t start, and the siren will go off,” he shared.

The Carrollton Police Department and Hyundai hosted a number of free software upgrade events at Tommy Standridge Stadium last week.

Hyundai vehicles left vulnerable to the Kia Boys’ theft method include:

  • 2018-2022 Accent
  • 2011-2022 Elantra
  • 2013-2020 Elantra GT
  • 2013-2014 Genesis Coupe
  • 2018-2022 Kona
  • 2020-2021 Palisade
  • 2013-2022 Santa Fe
  • 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport
  • 2019 Santa Fe XL
  • 2011-2019 Sonata
  • 2011-2022 Tuscon
  • 2012-2017 & 2019-2021 Veloster
  • 2020-2021 Venue