Kia and Hyundai are getting slammed over its theft rate.
According to FOX13, the city of Seattle in Washington is suing Kia and Hyundai in federal court for not including anti-theft technology in some of their cars, which has led to what the city's attorney calls an "exponential increase" in vehicle thefts in the city.
"From last July to this July, we saw a 625% increase in Kias and Hyundais stolen in the City of Seattle," said Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison.
Kia and Hyundai, as well as their customers, are coming under increasing fire over the issue, with insurance companies already refusing to insure the cars in other US cities.
"It's becoming a public nuisance because they know they have chosen to cut corners and exclude anti-theft technology, which is universal in almost all auto manufacturers," said Davison.
The bottom line is that the issue is costing the city money in the form of police time, it's a danger to the public as the cars are being driven uninsured, its costing insurance companies money, which raises rates for everyone else, but most importantly, it's causing distress and costing Kia and Hyundai owners money.
The problem dates back to 2021 when Milwaukee started making noise about suing the brands. The problem then got worse in 2022 when Tik Tok and YouTube videos gave explicit instructions demonstrating how easy it is to steal certain Hyundai and Kia models, including older Soul and Sportage trims.
The vulnerable models are specifically those with key ignitions and no engine immobilizers. Immobilizers didn't become standard on the brand's vehicles until November 1, 2021. That's right at the tail end of the industry standardizing basic security features.
Compounding the issue is how easy it is for thieves to bypass the door locks or open the hood from underneath. According to the now-viral videos, once inside the car, it's as simple as using a USB-A plug connection and inserting it into the ignition slot on the steering column.
We haven't tried any of the techniques demonstrated in videos, but reports like thefts of Kias and Hyundais jumping in St Louis by 1,450 percent last year, from 273 to 3,958 vehicles, suggest their effectiveness.
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