New York City Files Suit Against Hyundai, Kia Over Thefts,  Andrew G. Simpson, June 7, 2023

New York City has joined other municipalities in suing carmakers Hyundai and Kia for not having immobilizer anti-theft technology in some of their vehicles, which the municipalities claim has resulted in record car thefts and created a public nuisance around crime and crashes.

Hyundai and Kia have failed to keep pace with other manufacturers in installing anti-theft technology on certain 2015-2019 models that prevents cars from being started without their keys, according to the complaint. The legal filing echoes those filed by St. Louis, Cleveland, San Diego, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Seattle over the increase in Hyundai and Kia thefts.

“This is a clear example of what happens to public safety when car manufacturers choose not to include standard anti-theft technology in their cars,” the city asserts in the complaint filed in federal district court in Manhattan.

The complaint maintains that the carmakers’ response to the situation has been inadequate. The Korean manufacturers have said the vehicles comply with federal anti-theft requirements and thus a recall is not warranted. They have instead issued a software update that officials say does not work for all vehicles and has not stemmed the tide of thefts.

Videos demonstrating the relative ease with which their vehicles can be stolen have gone viral. This has led to a crime wave that New York City officials say has had a significant impact on law enforcement, emergency services and public safety while necessitating the diversion of resources to combat and investigate the thefts and resulting crashes.

New York City police report that thefts of Hyundais and Kias have risen substantially in the area, while thefts of other models have declined. In 2022, there was a 241% increase in Kias stolen and a 179% increase in Hyundais stolen in the city, the police have reported.

In the first four months of 2023 there has been an “explosion” with a 660% increase in Hyundai and Kia thefts compared to thefts for the same period in 2022, the complaint says. Continue article