CV NEWS FEED // Chicago is the latest city to sue car companies Hyundai and Kia for failing to install the latest anti-theft technology in some of their cars.
Stealing Kias and Hyundais became a viral TikTok trend in late 2021, when a group of teenagers known as the “Kia Boys” began posting videos of themselves demonstrating how easy it is to do so.
According to reports from FOX News, Chicago joined the ranks of cities such as Cleveland, St. Louis, Seattle, and New York City when it announced plans to take legal action against the two companies.
“The failure of Kia and Hyundai to install basic auto-theft prevention technology in these models is sheer negligence,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, “and as a result, a citywide and nationwide crime spree around automobile theft has been unfolding right before our eyes.”
Redland Securities Director Michael Balboni slammed the series of lawsuits in his appearance on Fox Business: “What about our police departments? What about the actual criminal behavior? Seems like a massive deflection.”
According to reports, the lack of common anti-theft technology in some cars is due to Kia’s cost-saving measures.
Certain Kias in the U.S. lack immobilizers, located in the steering column which prevent cars from being started without a key, since immobilizers are not required in other countries, such as Canada.
Without this device, all that is needed to start a Kia is a screw driver and USB-A plug.
In 2023, over 19,000 cars were stolen in the city of Chicago, triple the amount in 2019, despite Kia and Hyundai’s efforts beginning in February to provide free anti-theft ware.
In May, Hyundai and Kia announced an agreement with “owners of certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices.”
The $200 million agreement provides cash compensation, including reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased premiums, and other costs resulting from car theft.
In addition, the companies are now providing free security software updates, automatically installed at “any service or maintenance appointment that brings the owner of an eligible vehicle into the dealership.”