Class action filed against Kia, Hyundai over viral theft

Class action filed against Kia, Hyundai over viral theft

Last month, the Los Angeles Police Department alerted the community to a viral TikTok challenge that encourages theft of Kia and Hyundai cars.

One in five car thefts this year has been a Kia or Hyundai, police said, and officials believe that’s partly due to the lack of an “immobilizer,” an anti-theft device that doesn’t come with keyed Kia and Hyundai cars. manufactured from 2011 to 2021.

In the absence of an immobilizer, the car can be stolen only with the help of a USB cable and a screwdriver.

On Wednesday, Orange County District Attorney Jonathan Michaels filed a class-action lawsuit against Kia America and Hyundai Motor America. The two companies operate independently, but Kia’s parent company is Hyundai.

The lawsuit alleges that both companies’ decision to rely on older technology led to increased theft and a subsequent loss of value on the resale market.

“It looks like one of those old-fashioned keys from the 1960s, just a real key. They are the only manufacturer that we know of that makes a car without an engine immobilizer,” Michaels said.

Michaels estimated that there are 10 million cars that do not have an immobilizer, and each car would cost about $500 to fix.

“It’s about a $5 billion recall,” he said.

Kia and Hyundai declined to comment on pending litigation, although they said they were working with police on the matter.

The trend of theft of Kia and Hyundai cars is felt throughout the country.

Alyssa Smart of Indiana told WXIN of Nexstar earlier this year believes that the challenge of TikTok is to blame for attempting to steal her Kia.

In Norfolk, Virginia, police saw a 35% increase in Kia and Hyundai thefts in the first half of July alone.WAVYreported And the police in other municipalities, likeBeloit, Wisconsin,andKentwood, Michigan,Kia and Hyundai owners are urged to take extra precautions.

Thieves are taking advantage of the immobilizer flaw, and some are posting their illegal tricks online, Sgt. Eric Brunner of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department in Michigan told NexstarTREE. This was reported by Rick Ricart of Ricart Automotive in OhioWCMHthat at least 30 Kia and Hyundai vehicles were towed to his workshop for service in one week in June, all with damaged steering columns.

Smart, a hacking victim in Indiana, also told WXIN that she doesn’t think TikTok should allow the type of content that could lead to further hacks.

“This trend disgusts me,” she said. “I really don’t understand how people think it’s okay to post criminal activity, let alone participate in it after seeing it online.”

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