NYC joins lawsuit against Kia, Hyundai over vehicle thefts
New York City Joins Lawsuit Against Kia and Hyundai Over Lack of Anti-Theft Measures
New York City is joining a lawsuit again car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai over a near-quadruple-digit percentage point increase in thefts of those brands of cars in the city.
NEW YORK – New York City is joining a lawsuit again car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai over a near-quadruple-digit percentage point increase in thefts of those brands of cars in the city.
The lawsuit claims the theft of vehicles spiked dramatically due to a lack of standard anti-theft measures. According to the mayor’s office, due to the absence of sufficient anti-theft devices in Kia and Hyundai vehicles, New York City saw an 890% increase in Kia thefts at the end of last year and a 766% increase in Hyundai thefts in the preceding months.
“But what’s driving that increase this year,” said Michael Lipetri, NYPD chief of crime control strategies, “Are the types of vehicles that are being stolen.”
Mayor Eric Adams, along with the city’s corporation counsel, say thieves are targeting models made between 2011-2021 that don’t have standard anti-theft measures, such as an immobilizer system.
A TikTok challenge called the “Kia Challenge” has gone viral, with videos showing how easily a criminal can pop off the steering column and insert a screwdriver or even a USB into the ignition and drive away.
It’s why the city is joining national litigation claiming negligence on the part of Hyundai and Kia.
“We’re going to hold Kia and Hyundai accountable for the public nuisance they’ve created and protect New Yorkers’ cars,” Adams wrote.
“This is one of those instances where the lawyers are creating this maelstrom of litigation,” said Randy Zelin, a trial attorney and adjunct professor at Cornell Law School. “But we’re not seeing the forest for the trees. Because again, no one is addressing the true bad actors here which are the TikTokers that apparently found it amusing to teach thieves to be better thieves.”
Kia and Hyundai responded to this report, saying that they have made free software upgrades and steering wheel locks available to millions of affected customers. Hyundai made engine immobilizers standard on all vehicles.
Zelin says a successful lawsuit ensures what’s already being done, while still not addressing the source of the crime.
“The only ones who are going to make out here are going to be the lawyers,” Zelin said.
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