Watch CBS News

Hyundai, Kia holding software-upgrade clinics in Minnesota for vehicles targeted by thieves

Extended: Hyundai holding software-upgrade clinics in Minneapolis, St. Paul for vehicles targeted by
Extended: Hyundai holding software-upgrade clinics in Minneapolis, St. Paul for vehicles targeted by 09:02

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hyundai is setting up "mobile clinics" at five U.S. locations, including the Twin Cities, to provide anti-theft software upgrades for vehicles now regularly targeted by thieves using a technique popularized on TikTok and other social media platforms.

The South Korean automaker will hold the clinic in Minneapolis on Friday and Saturday. The St. Paul clinic is on Sunday and Monday. 

Minneapolis clinic information

  • Date: Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11
  • Location: Former Kmart parking lot
  • Address: 10 W. Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
  • Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

St. Paul clinic information

  • Date: Sunday, Nov. 12 and Monday, Nov. 13
  • Location: Allianz Arena – shopping center parking lot
  • Address: 400 Snelling Ave, N. St. Paul, MN 55104
  • Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kia America will also be hosting an event for anti-theft software upgrades. That event will be held Friday through Sunday in Shakopee at Canterbury Park, located on 100 Canterbury Rd. No appointments are necessary. 

On Thursday, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara and Hyundai Vice President of After Sales David VandeLinde held a news conference to discuss the mobile clinics.

RELATED: Frey, Carter, Ellison call for Kia and Hyundai safety recall after rise in thefts

O'Hara says auto theft has become a very serious issue in recent years, with approximately 2,150 Hyundai vehicles stolen in Minneapolis in 2023 — a significant spike compared to previous years.

"The security upgrades that are going to be taking place here this weekend are very much needed to correct that problem and address the public safety issues associated with auto theft," O'Hara said. "While these steps are a step in the right direction, more is needed to ensure this community is safe."

He says the city is averaging six Hyundai vehicles stolen per day.

"That's completely unacceptable," O'Hara said.

O'Hara says the stolen vehicle incidents are often linked to other criminal activity, such as robberies and shootings.

"The most alarming facet of this issue is the involvement of juveniles, youths as young as 11 and 12 years old, who are jumping in and taking advantage of this crime of opportunity," O'Hara added.

VandeLinde says his company took "immediate action" upon the discovery of the viral videos to engineer software upgrades. He says the company also distributed over 125,000 no-cost steering wheel locks to over 850 law enforcement agencies across the country.

"Our focus today is on helping our customers in the Twin Cities receive the assistance they need with anti-theft software or other anti-theft devices," VandeLinde said. 

Hyundai said it will also support single-day regional clinics run by dealerships before the end of 2023, although it didn't name locations or dates.

Hyundai Kia Recall
David Zalubowski / AP

The automaker listed the affected vehicles as the 2018-2022 Accent, the 2011-2022 Elantra, the 2013-2020 Elantra GT, the 2013-2014 Genesis Coupe, the 2018-2022 Kona, the 2020-2021 Palisade, the 2013-2022 Santa Fe, the 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport, the 2019 Santa Fe XL, the 2011-2019 Sonata, the 2011-2022 Tucson, the 2012-2017 and 2019-2021 Veloster, and the 2020-2021 Venue.

Theft rates of the affected automobiles soared after thieves discovered these models lacked engine immobilizers, an anti-theft technology that has long been standard in other vehicles.

The office of Attorney General Keith Ellison issued the following response to Hyundai's announcement:

"On March 2, Attorney General Ellison called on Kia and Hyundai to recall all vehicles lacking industry-standard anti-theft engine immobilizers to correct this clear deficiency and stem the rising tide of auto thefts. That remains his position.

"Kia and Hyundai's software update is not a real solution to this problem. We are still hearing from consumers who have had their vehicles stolen after the update, and not all Kia and Hyundai vehicles are even eligible for that update in the first place. 

"After over a year of rampant thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, Hyundai's decision to offer a four-day clinic does not come close to remedying the problems caused by their failure to equip their vehicles with industry standard engine immobilizers. 

"Attorney General Ellison's investigation into the threat to public safety posed by Kia and Hyundai vehicles remains ongoing."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.