Seattle sues Kia, Hyundai over exponential rise in thefts

According to the city, between 2021 and 2022, thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles increased by 363% and 503%, respectively.

SEATTLE — Editor’s Note: The video above aired on August 16, 2022.

Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday against automakers Kia and Hyundai, alleging their failure to install anti-theft technology on some vehicles contributed to exponential increase in thefts.

A city statement said that between 2021 and 2022, thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles increased by 363% and 503%, respectively. The lawsuit alleges that Kia and Hyundai were aware of public safety concerns from an increase in thefts of their vehicles and that neither company took meaningful steps to address the issue.

“Kia and Hyundai have chosen to cut and cut costs at the expense of customers and the public. As a result, our police force has had to deal with a massive increase in vehicle theft and related issues with already overstretched resources. Davison said. “Kia and Hyundai need to be held accountable for the public safety hazard they’ve created.”

An insurance industry group said in September that these cars are stolen at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the auto industry because their keys lack the computer chip for the “dynamic locking” system. “stealing”. Instructional videos from social media are said to have helped spread the knowledge of this information.

The Highway Loss Data Institute, a unit of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that Hyundai and Kia vehicles without immobilizers had a vehicle theft claim rate of . 2.18 per 1,000 vehicle years covered. The rest of the industry combined has a ratio of 1.21. One insured vehicle year is equivalent to one insured vehicle for one year.

The institute published its findings on Thursday, comparing vehicles from the 2015 to 2019 model years. It studied vehicle theft claims from 2021.

“Now that everyone knows how easy it is to steal Hyundai and Kia vehicles, the Seattle Police Department has noticed an increase in theft of these models,” said Sheriff Adrian Z. Diaz. . in August to 197 in December. Sixty-four percent of those vehicles were subsequently recalled within city limits, which suggests they were most likely taken away shortly, usually for commit other crimes. To protect Seattle residents’ hard-earned assets, automakers need to take this issue seriously and do all they can to prevent these thefts.”

Hyundai and Kia both shared statements with KING 5 in response to Monday’s lawsuit.

hyundai: “Hyundai believes this lawsuit is inappropriate and unnecessary. In response to the increasing thefts targeting vehicles that do not start with the push of a button and immobilize our anti-theft devices. In the United States, Hyundai Motor America has adopted an engine immobilizer standard on all vehicles manufactured since November In addition, Hyundai has taken a series of actions to prevent theft of vehicles. Affected vehicles, including an upcoming software update, are expected to be available early next month and be made available at no cost to customers.

Hyundai is also providing free steering wheel locks, where available, to a number of law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Seattle area, for distribution to local residents who own or rent stolen models. affect. Owners can also take their vehicle to a local Hyundai dealer to purchase and install a custom security kit. We apologize for the inconvenience to affected customers.”

that: “Kia is still concerned that criminals are targeting certain Kia vehicles with steel keys and ‘on throttle’ ignition systems. Although no vehicle is fully anti-theft, Kia continues to provide steering wheel locks to customers through interested local law enforcement agencies, subject to availability, at no cost to the relevant owners of these vehicles.

Kia also continues to work on developing additional solutions for vehicles that were not originally equipped with immobilizers, including developing and testing enhanced security software designed to limit vehicle operation. vehicle’s ignition system. Kia has begun notifying owners of certain models of this software upgrade at no cost to them, and Kia anticipates that it will provide software upgrades for most affected vehicles in the coming weeks. Next few months.” Seattle sues Kia, Hyundai over exponential rise in thefts

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