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New York City Goes After Hyundai, Kia After Security Flaw Leads To Wave Of Social Media Fueled Theft

By 06/07/2023 4:57 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


A number of other cities plagued by a social media-fueled surge of auto thefts owing to a fault that made particular car models especially prone to theft have joined New York City in filing a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia.

Popular how-to videos on TikTok and other websites demonstrate how to start the autos with just a screwdriver and a USB cord.

The cause is that some Hyundai and Kia vehicles marketed in the United States did not have engine immobilizers, a technology that has been present on most automobiles since the 1990s and prevents the engine from starting without the key.

The lawsuit was submitted to the U.S. Hyundai Motor America and Kia America Inc. are accused of falling behind other automakers by not using immobilizer technology, which ensures that vehicles cannot be started without their keys, according to a complaint filed in district court in the Southern District of New York late on Tuesday.

The complaint claims that Hyundai and Kia’s business decisions to omit basic anti-theft systems in order to save costs and increase profits have led to an epidemic of thefts.

The city asserts that the car thefts are negatively affecting both public safety and emergency services as well as taxing the police department’s resources.

The city asserts that the car thefts are negatively affecting both public safety and emergency services as well as taxing the police department’s resources.

According to the New York City police department, 287 Kias were reported stolen in 2018, compared to 119 in 2021.

In 2022, 415 Hyundais were reported stolen, up from 232 the previous year.

With an estimated 977 Hyundai and Kia automobiles reported stolen in the first four months of this year, the issue has persisted.

Only 148 of these thefts occurred in the same months previous year.

Following a wave of thefts, New York, the largest city in the US by population, joins a rising number of cities going after the automakers, including Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Diego, and Seattle.

New York City is asking for an order that would include provisions for the removal of the public nuisance that Hyundai and Kia have caused or contributed to, compensation for the economic damages incurred as a result of the nuisance, and injunctive relief.

The city is also asking for a jury trial.

Requests for comment from Hyundai and Kia did not immediately receive a response.

A class-action lawsuit brought on by a spike in auto thefts was settled last month by Hyundai and Kia.

According to the firms at the time, the settlement, which might be worth $200 million, will apply to nearly 9 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the United States from the 2011 to 2022 model years.

According to Kia and Hyundai, the settlement would pay customers who had theft-related losses or damage that was not covered by insurance monetary compensation as well as payment for insurance deductibles, higher insurance premiums, and other losses.

Eligible owners will also receive a software upgrade.

According to the agreement, consumers whose vehicles can’t handle the software upgrade would be reimbursed up to $300 for anti-theft gadgets.

According to the firms, Kia and Hyundai have also distributed tens of thousands of free steering wheel locks to impacted consumers via direct shipments and local police enforcement.

In July, the court is anticipated to assess and provide preliminary approval to the proposed settlement.


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