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New York sues Hyundai and Kia, alleging their vehicles are simple to steal

Hyundai Motor Co. automobiles are displayed on the firm’s Motorstudio showroom in Goyang, South Korea, on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are being sued for inflicting a “public nuisance,” in keeping with a criticism filed in Manhattan federal court docket.

New York Metropolis is accusing the 2 companies of failing to put in gadgets that forestall vehicles from being stolen, after a social media challenge prompted younger teenagers to steal automobiles off the road by sizzling wiring them utilizing a USB cable.

A viral TikTok problem began in 2021 and spurred an increase in thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Chicago noticed a leap of 800% year-on-year within the theft of those vehicles for the month of August 2022, officials told CNBC at the time. Los Angeles officers additionally noticed an 85% leap in contrast with the 12 months earlier than.

“In electing earnings over security and deviating from business norms by not together with engine immobilizers as a typical security function, Defendants created and maintained a public nuisance,” town mentioned within the submitting made within the U.S. District Court docket within the Southern District of New York.

New York accused the 2 firms of enabling “this spiraling epidemic” of automobile thefts.

“This case is a transparent instance of what occurs to public security when automobile producers select to not embody normal anti-theft know-how of their vehicles,” the submitting mentioned. “Ensuring vehicles usually are not simple to steal protects each property and the general public by preserving harmful drivers in stolen automobiles off the roads,” it mentioned.

In response, Hyundai mentioned it made immobilizers normal on all automobiles from November 2021 and had taken measures to scale back the specter of thefts. It additionally mentioned it’s speaking with the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration to help its clients.

Kia added that the corporate is working with legislation enforcement to fight “automobile theft and the function social media has performed in encouraging it,” and that it’s “dedicated to supporting our clients and to car safety.” 

TikTok challenge leads to jump in car thefts of Kias and Hyundais

Highlighting the businesses’ “failure” to put in an anti-theft system, the criticism accused them of getting “opened the floodgates to car theft, crime sprees, reckless driving, and public hurt.”

Shares of South Korea’s largest automakers fell on Wednesday. Hyundai Motors slid by greater than 2% whereas Kia Corp dropped by greater than 5%.

Hyundai and Kia final month agreed to a $200 million consumer class-action lawsuit settlement, in keeping with Reuters, which lined roughly 9 million automobile homeowners and included as much as $145 million for out-of-pocket losses for purchasers.

‘Digital explosion’ of thefts

New York Metropolis in its submitting mentioned that the thefts are nonetheless persevering with, and that it’s in search of “compensation for the financial losses,” with out specifying an actual determine.

“In 2023, compared to previous years, there was a digital explosion of thefts of Kias and Hyundais,” it mentioned. Round 977 Hyundai and Kia automobiles had been reported stolen within the first 4 months of the 12 months, in keeping with the submitting.

“This represents a roughly 660% improve in thefts of Kia and Hyundai automobiles as in comparison with those self same months in 2022, when there have been solely 148 such thefts,” it mentioned.

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New York Metropolis joins quite a lot of cities that took related measures towards the 2 automakers, together with Baltimore, St. Louis, Milwaukee, San Diego and Seattle.

In a launch, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott mentioned in Might: “These cost-cutting measures employed by Hyundai and Kia on the expense of public security are unacceptable.”

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