UNITED STATES NEWS

New York City goes after Hyundai, Kia after security flaw leads to wave of social media fueled theft

Jun 7, 2023, 5:23 AM | Updated: 6:24 am

New York City has filed a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia, joining a host of other cities beset by a social media fueled wave of car thefts due to a flaw that made some car models highly susceptible to theft.

Viral how-to videos on TikTok and other sites show how to start the cars using only USB cables and a screwdriver. The reason is that some models sold by Hyundai and Kia in the U.S. came without engine immobilizers, a standard feature on most cars since the 1990s that prevent the engine from starting unless the key is present.

The lawsuit, which was filed with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York late Tuesday, alleges that Hyundai Motor America and Kia America Inc. failed to keep up with other automakers by not adopting immobilizer technology that ensured cars could not be started without their keys.

“Hyundai’s and Kia’s business decisions to reduce costs, and thereby boost profits, by foregoing common anti-theft technology have resulted in an epidemic of thefts,” the lawsuit states.

The city claims the vehicle thefts are straining the resources of its police department, as well as negatively impacting public safety and emergency services.

The New York City police department reports that about 287 Kias were stolen last year, compared with approximately 119 in 2021. Approximately 415 Hyundais were reported stolen in 2022, compared with 232 a year earlier. And the problem has continued, with an estimated 977 Hyundai and Kia vehicles reported stolen in the first four months of this year. There were only 148 such thefts in the same months last year.

New York, the nation’s biggest city by population, joins a growing list of cities going after the carmakers following a raft of thefts, including Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Diego and Seattle.

New York City, which is seeking a trial by jury, is requesting an order providing for abatement of the public nuisance Hyundai and Kia have created or contributed to, compensation for the economic losses suffered as a result of the nuisance and injunctive relief.

Hyundai says it’s committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of its products.

“A subset of Hyundai vehicles on the road in the U.S. today – primarily “base trim” or entry-level models – are not equipped with push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. It is important to clarify that an engine immobilizer is an anti-theft device and these vehicles are fully compliant with federal anti-theft requirements,” the automaker said in a written statement.

Hyundai made engine immobilizers standard on all of its vehicles made from November 2021 onward. The company also said that it’s speaking with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the actions it is taking to assist its customers.

Kia did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Last month Hyundai and Kia reached a resolve a class-action lawsuit prompted by a surge in vehicle thefts.

The settlement could be valued at $200 million and covers about 9 million 2011-2022 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the U.S., the companies said at the time.

The settlement will provide cash compensation to customers who suffered theft-related losses or damage not covered by insurance — as well as reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums and other losses, Kia and Hyundai said.

A software upgrade will also be provided to eligible owners. For customers with vehicles that cannot accommodate the software upgrade, the agreement will provide a reimbursement of up to $300 for anti-theft devices.

Kia and Hyundai have also given impacted customers tens of thousands of free steering wheel locks through local law enforcement and direct shipments, the companies said.

That proposed settlement is expected to be reviewed in court for preliminary approval in July.

United States News

Associated Press

Tornado kills multiple people in Iowa as powerful storms again tear through Midwest

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Officials said multiple people were killed Tuesday when a tornado ripped through a small town in Iowa, decimating homes and damaging businesses. The town of Greenfield’s hospital was among the buildings damaged — which meant that at least a dozen people hurt had to be taken to hospitals elsewhere, according to […]

10 minutes ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Rangers recover the body of a Japanese climber who died on North America’s tallest peak

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rangers have recovered the body of a Japanese man who died after an apparent fall while climbing North America’s tallest peak, authorities said Tuesday. Denali National Park and Preserve identified the climber as T. Hagiwara, from Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He was identified by his first initial in keeping with his family’s […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Detroit could be without Black representation in Congress again with top candidate off the ballot

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit Democrat will not appear on the ballot after building significant support within the party in his attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar in Michigan’s August primary, after election officials determined that he had not submitted enough valid signatures. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett’s ruling on Tuesday to keep […]

4 hours ago

DeAnn Kilgore grappled with the unexpected letter from her husband's killer, Michael Moore. Despite...

SuElen Rivera

Letters lead to meeting killer, life-changing moment

DeAnn Kilgore grappled with the unexpected letter from her husband's killer, Michael Moore. Despite initial reluctance, she read it, prompting a profound journey of forgiveness and spiritual healing for herself and her family.

5 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

New York City goes after Hyundai, Kia after security flaw leads to wave of social media fueled theft