As the rise in stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles becomes a major nationwide concern for car owners, Yonkers added its name to the list of cities suing Hyundai and Kia over the issue.
Yonkers Police Commanding Officer Kenneth Lacey expressed his frustration when speaking with CBS News on this problem. He stated that Yonkers has witnessed an alarming 1,100 percent increase in stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicles. This surge has severely impacted the YPD’s resources and put a tremendous strain on their ability to combat car theft.
Why these cars?
What makes these Kia and Hyundai vehicles so susceptible to theft is their foregoing of modern technologies like immobilizers. By comparison, “only 26% of 2015-model Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the U.S. had immobilizers, 1 compared to 96% of vehicles from all other manufacturers.” the the lawsuits filing. Furthermore, these same vehicles in Canada and the EU do have this technology due to those regions’ regulations. Without devices like immobilizers, viral videos on TikTok and other social media sites highlight the ease at which the average person can use common tools like a USB cable to effectively “hot wire” one of these vehicles.
Both Kia and Hyundai have acknowledged the problem and taken steps to mitigate thefts. Kia has developed a free security software upgrade to restrict unauthorized ignition attempts. They now also provide steering wheel locks to eligible vehicle owners. Hyundai has similarly implemented anti-theft software installations across its dealer network to combat the issue. In their official statements, both automakers defend the integrity of their vehicles. They note that they comply fully with federal anti-theft requirements and are committed to supporting their customers and vehicle security.
However, these measures do nothing for those already affected by car theft. So, Yonkers joined with at least ten other cities being represented by law firm Keller Rohrback in suing Kia and Hyundai. The complaint seeks a jury trial to award actual and compensatory damages to vehicle owners, plus potential punitive damages. Additionally, any fees and further relief “the Court deems just and proper under the circumstances.”
Both car manufactures already settled a class-action lawsuit concerning the ease of stealing their vehicles in May 2023. The $200 million settlement covers almost nine million of their vehicles. And it awards damages up to $6,125 for unrecovered vehicles and up to $3,375 for damaged ones, including reimbursements for related expenses.
You may read the full complaint, City of Yonkers v Hyundai Motor America and Kia America Inc., below. You can also download it by clicking here.