CHICAGO — The City of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai over a rise in car thefts since last year.
The complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County and alleges the auto corporations failed to equip their cars sold in the U.S., between 2011 and 2022, with anti-theft technology.
It alleges that Kia and Hyundai “deceptively assured” consumers that these vehicles possessed “advanced” safety features, despite knowing about the defect and its consequences.
The defect was made popular on TikTok — which shows how people can start some Kia and Hyundai models by using only a screwdriver and a USB cable.
According to Chicago officials, thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles in the city surged from about 500 in the first half of 2022 to more than 8,350 during the second half of the year.
They said so far in 2023, thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles comprise more than half of all vehicles stolen in Chicago.
In March, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul urged Kia and Hyundai to take “comprehensive action” over car thefts in the Chicago area.
Authorities have repeatedly told the media and public that several of these stolen vehicles are used in more crimes — including murder.
“The impact of car theft on Chicago residents can be deeply destabilizing, particularly for low- to middle-income workers who have fewer options for getting to work and taking care of their families,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “The failure of Kia and Hyundai to install basic auto-theft prevention technology in these models is sheer negligence, and as a result, a citywide and nationwide crime spree around automobile theft has been unfolding right before our eyes.”
Johnson went on the allege that the companies have refused to provide sufficient steering wheel locks requested by the city.
Nationally, Hyundai Motor America and Kia America settled a similar suit in May related to the vehicles not being immobilizing anti-theft devices.
If any Chicagoan wishes to inform the city about their experience with Kia and Hyundai thefts, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.