Kia systems outage hobbles dealers, owners

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LOS ANGELES — Kia Motors America is struggling with a multi-day systems outage that is affecting the ability of dealers to order cars and perform some repairs, while customers are cut off from functions of the brand’s UVO mobile application that allows actions such as pre-heating their cars.

The automaker acknowledged network problems in a statement but isn’t giving any reasons for the disruption, which apparently started over the weekend and continues to frustrate dealers and owners who increasingly depend on online services during a pandemic and crushing winter storms.

Kia Motors America “is currently experiencing an extended systems outage,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. “Affected systems include the Kia Owners Portal, UVO mobile apps, and the Consumer Affairs web portal. We apologize for any inconvenience to affected customers, and are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible with minimal interruption to our business.”

Hyundai Motor America said it is experiencing an IT outage to some of its systems but with a limited customer-facing impact. The automaker said in a statement that it is working to resove the issue as quickly as possible. Kia and Hyundai share parent company Hyundai Motor Group, based in Seoul, South Korea.

Two Kia dealers told Automotive News that the automaker’s communication system, KDealer, had been unavailable beginning on Saturday. As a result, retailers have been hampered in ordering new vehicles and parts, receiving service communications and downloading vehicle software for service updates.

On social media, Kia customers complained that the UVO app was not working. The app requires a paid subscription on higher tiers that include services such as “remote climate” and roadside assistance.

On Kia forums Wednesday, owners posted a screenshot from the UVO app with the warning message: “We are currently experiencing an IT service outage that has impacted some internal networks. Our customers are our top priority, and we are working to resolve the issue quickly.”

Some Kia users linked to articles in the information-security media suggesting that Kia Motors America may have suffered a ransomware hack, but Kia did not confirm that information.

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