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States demand action from Hyundai, Kia due to surge in stolen vehicles

Springfield Police

Kwame Raoul of Illinois and nearly two dozen other state attorneys general have sent a letter to Hyundai and Kia officials demanding “swift and comprehensive action” to help stem the rise in stolen vehicles. The letter said the companies failed to equip their vehicles with anti-theft immobilizers.

Police across the country have reported numerous Hyundai and Kia thefts. According to the attorneys general, there were over 7,000 taken in Chicago in 2022 alone. Springfield police reported about 30 thefts in less than a month last summer. The crimes have been fueled by a social media trend that shows how to steal the vehicles.

Kia and Hyundai recently announced a customer service campaign to upgrade the software of affected vehicles; however, Raoul and the coalition said the plan is insufficient, incomplete and long overdue.

“I urge Kia and Hyundai to accelerate a software upgrade to ensure consumers’ vehicles are properly equipped to guard against theft. Additionally, these companies need to provide free alternate protective measures to owners with vehicles that cannot support the software upgrade,” Raoul said. “I stand committed to protecting consumers and our communities, and I urge these car companies to do their part to prevent these thefts.”

Raoul and the attorneys general explain that Kia and Hyundai chose not to include anti-theft immobilizers as standard equipment on several vehicle models sold in the United States, despite including the immobilizers on the same affected models sold in other countries. As a result, the number of thefts and the use of stolen vehicles to commit other thefts in the U.S. significantly increased.

Raoul and the attorneys general are urging the companies to accelerate the planned software upgrade because in addition to dealing with the risk of their vehicle being stolen, Hyundai and Kia owners now face the threat of being unable to insure their vehicles. According to the coalition, several major insurance companies are now refusing to insure the Hyundai and Kia models most susceptible to theft.

Joining Attorney General Raoul in submitting the letter were the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin, along with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.

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