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St. Louis Hyundai/Kia dealer invents security device for cars being stolen through TikTok challenge

Necessity is still the mother of invention.

St. Louis is one of the cities that have been hit hard by an auto theft wave that’s seen tens of thousands of Hyundais and Kias across the country stolen and taken for joyrides.

Certain older low-end models from 2011-2021 without pushbutton ignitions were built without ignition immobilizers and can be started without a key by using a relatively simple method that’s been spread through videos on TikTok and other social media.

Elliott Silk, service director at the Suntrup Automotive Group, which owns both a Hyundai and Kia dealership, told Fox News Digital that his service departments have repaired hundreds of recovered cars and that the problem doesn’t seem to be getting better.

HYUNDAIS AND KIAS STOLEN NEARLY TWICE AS OFTEN AS OTEHR VEHICLES, NATIONAL STUDY FINDS

The automakers have so far addressed the problem by offering owners accessory security systems, like steering wheel locks and alarms, but have yet to come up with a built-in fix, so Silk’s team developed its own.

They redesigned an off-the-shelf Bluetooth switch so that it could be hardwired to the car and immobilize the ignition. The driver just needs to authorize it via a remote keychain fob while turning the steel key to start the vehicle.

Silk said it automatically activates and is installed in a hard-to-access location and would be too difficult and take to long for a casual thief to attempt to disable.

Suntrup has started offering it for $99 and $199 installed and has sold 150 in the first 30 days as it gets the word out and ramps up production.

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The interest in the product has been so great that Suntrup has launched a website visdevices.com to offer the product nationwide. It also sells window stickers notifying would-be thieves that the car is equipped with the security system.

A Hyundai spokesman told Fox News Digital that the company is aware of the product, but is focused on developing a free software solution to address the issue that it hopes to make available to owners starting in March.

All 2022 Hyundai and Kia vehicles built since November 2021 have standard immobilizers.

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