Gen Z’s preferred car for theft is the World Car of the Year winner, boasting over 700,000 sales in America

Gen Z’s preferred car for theft is the World Car of the Year  winner, boasting over 700,000 sales in America

In 2021, TikTok was full of videos of Gen Z touting how easy it was to break into certain Come on And Hyundai models – turning cities into terrorizing ride zones and increasing car theft rates soaring. But now Hyundai is taking back the driver’s seat as third largest car manufacturer in the world, and the fourth largest in the USA

And this year, Kia and its parent company Hyundai won three of six World Car of the Year awards pricethe company announcement at the end of last week, everything by undercutting their competitors. The Kia EV9 won the World Car of the Year and World Electric Vehicle awards, while the Hyundai IONIQ 5 N was recognized as the World Performance Car. Other winners included BMW, VolvoAnd Toyota models.

Hyundai engine The Group has come a long way since its Debut in the United States in 1986, when it introduced a subcompact model called the Excel and generated sales that broke an industry record for an imported car distributor in its first year. Its renewed vigor in quality control, coupled with its affordable prices, owes its rise to sixth largest car manufacturer in 2021. From now on, the automobile group is investing in electric vehicles “metaplant” And innovative car design.

Kia and Hyundai’s problems with TikTok

Models like Hyundai’s Santa Fe and Tucson and Kia’s Forte and Sportage, which feature turnkey ignitions rather than buttons, have become the target of car hackers trained in social networks for years.

In 2021, a viral TikTok trend taught people how to steal certain Kia and Hyundai models in just seconds, especially those without an immobilizer or anti-theft mechanism installed. USB charging cords and a screwdriver were enough to wreak havoc on both companies’ models, many of which were not equipped with immobilizers. between 2011 and 2022.

The result was intense and reverberated throughout the country. Theft insurance claims for some Kia and Hyundai models increased by more than 1,000% between the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2023, CNN reported.

In September 2023, 17 cities filed lawsuits against Hyundai for failing to install anti-theft technology in millions of vehicles, which has also overwhelmed several police stations in cities including new York, ClevelandSan Diego, Milwaukee, Columbus and Seattle.

The court granted preliminary approval to trial in October 2023, which includes a $145 million settlement to reimburse owners of more than 9 million affected vehicles, and the court will hold a final approval hearing in July.

Hagens Berman, a Seattle-based law firm, announcement that anyone who purchased or leased affected Kia or Hyundai models and whose car was stolen will be informed if they can access a share of the settlement by March 4.

Since November 2021, immobilizers have been now a standard in all Hyundai vehicles. Following the consequences of the theft, the group gave free steering wheel locks, ignition cylinder protectorsand software and hardware upgrades for car owners who did not have an anti-theft engine immobilizer.

In a interview According to the Associated Press, the company said it was “lagging behind other automakers” in developing the standard for anti-theft equipment. In a statement to Forbes, the group said it was unfortunate that its cars were “targeted in a coordinated social media effort” but acknowledged that “no car can be made completely theft-proof.” . What’s more, millions of group members carsincluding some of their best-selling models like Hyundai’s Santa Fe and Elantra and Kia’s Sportage and Forte, were recalled in September 2023 due to fire risk. Today, almost nine months later, the company still does not have the parts needed to repair most of the affected vehicles.

…and their rise to the top

Despite the risks and challenges, the automaker is hot right now. Its upcoming releases include a New version of its best-selling Tucson SUV available in June, a K4 compact sedanand one new luxury line– which come with upgrades to interiors, infotainment technology and safety features. At New York International Auto Show last week, the automobile group unveiled a new concept for an eclectic full-size SUV model.

It is now the fourth largest American automaker and has sold more than 724,000 vehicles in 2022. Two main elements explain its success: investments in quality and innovation.

Today, Hyundai’s luxury line, called Genesis, has become one of the most profitable guidelines. THE large all-electric luxury vehicles boosted sales of 23% last year compared to 2022.

The automaker also had the most vehicle categories in the lead in Total Quality Awardwhich were released in October 2023. These awards measure value based on what customers receive for every dollar spent in 2023, according to Strategic Vision, a buyer feedback research company.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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