The City of Baltimore joins Seattle, St. Louis, and several other cities nationwide in filing a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia for failing to equip their vehicles with industry-standard vehicle immobilization technology. Without this feature, vehicles can be started without a key, a flaw that has been the subject of numerous TikTok videos demonstrating the ease with which these cars can be stolen.
This has led to a rash of thefts of these vehicles in Baltimore City and nationwide. Five hundred seventy-seven Kias and Hyundais have been stolen in Baltimore so far this year, a pace that will likely result in a year-end total that more than doubles that of 2022.
“These cost-cutting measures employed by Hyundai and Kia at the expense of public safety are unacceptable,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. “They have left our residents vulnerable to crime and significantly burden our police resources.”
According to a Baltimore City press release:
The lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The City is represented by Richard Gordon and Martin Wolf of Gordon, Wolf & Carney, and Sara Gross of the Baltimore City Department of Law.
“The Baltimore Police Department has tracked the striking increase of auto thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles throughout the city. Year-to-date, auto thefts are up 95%, with Kia and Hyundais representing 41% of all stolen vehicles,” said Commissioner Michael Harrison. “We must demand more from these manufacturers in addressing this increase in vehicle thefts, which put victims and residents in harm’s way. This lawsuit represents a first step in holding these manufactures accountable and establishing necessary safeguards to improve the quality of life for our residents.”