An influx of municipalities has taken legal action against Kia Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co.
They are holding the automotive giants accountable for the hike of thrill-seekers stealing vehicles, wreaking property havoc, and exhausting law enforcement resources.
Cleveland, Seattle, St. Louis, and a minimum of five additional cities contended that the automakers neglected to incorporate anti-theft mechanisms in an attempt to economize.
As a consequence, their vehicles became more susceptible to theft, rendering the urban landscapes increasingly perilous, as articulated by officials. In the filed lawsuits, the cities have yet to specify the monetary damages they seek from Kia and Hyundai.
Vehicle Theft Via Screwdriver, USB Charger Growing Concerns Among Adolescents
These automobiles lack immobilizers, devices that prevent the engine from igniting without the appropriate key in possession. Predominantly, thefts target vehicles equipped with metal keys and twist-to-initiate ignition mechanisms.
In a February legal complaint, it was asserted that safeguards are ineffective.
Kia rebuts the allegations, claiming the lawsuits hold no validity. Hyundai, on the other hand, emphasizes its vehicles adhere to federal safety regulations. Based in Seoul, Hyundai possesses roughly one-third of Kia’s ownership.
Municipal representatives argue the two automotive firms have failed to sufficiently rectify the issue since thefts skyrocketed.
TikTok car theft challenge: Chicago area sees 767% increase in Hyundai, Kia thefts https://t.co/orDiahq2fX pic.twitter.com/ltlnE13j70
— New York Post (@nypost) August 27, 2022
Social media videos divulge the art of vehicle theft via a screwdriver and USB charger; perpetrators are frequently adolescents or even younger, as officials report.
Social media platforms, such as TikTok and YouTube, claim to remove such content, which contravenes their guidelines.
Kia, Hyundai Urged to Take Responsibility and Address Safety Issues
Approximately 4.5 million Kias manufactured between 2011 and 2021, and around 3.8 million Hyundais produced between 2016 and 2021, are affected by this quandary, as per the automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
State Farm has ceased processing new customer applications for specific Kia and Hyundai vehicles, alluding to escalating expenses.
Individuals who leased or purchased Kias and Hyundais have filed lawsuits against the companies, contending the cars should not have been sold bereft of the vital security feature.
Kia and Hyundai have stated their commitment to providing complimentary steering wheel locks and software enhancements.
Both @StateFarm & @progressive confirmed that they will no longer write policies for Kia & Hyundai models manufactured between 2015-2019. Why, "Car theft spiked during the pandemic.”
You can thank criminals for their diligence & @TheDemocrats for supporting them
— Johnny Skidmark (@Skid5150) January 30, 2023
A month ago, the attorneys general from nearly 20 states penned a letter to both automakers, imploring them to expedite the solution and furnish an increased supply of steering wheel locks for those unable to promptly acquire the software.