March 22, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albuquerque, NM – Attorney General Raúl Torrez, along with a coalition of 22 attorneys general, is calling on Kia America (Kia) and Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) to take swift and comprehensive action to help remedy the crisis of car thefts that has occurred as a result of the companies’ failure to equip vehicles with anti-theft immobilizers. Alarmingly high theft rates for Kia and Hyundai models continue across the country, and many of these thefts are connected to other crimes, further endangering the public.
“In the past three months my Office was made aware of more than 30 stolen cars in Las Cruces of the Kia and Hyundai models,” said AG Torrez. “It is imperative that car companies ensure that anti-theft mechanisms are in place to combat car thefts at this rate. We are living in modern times that require modern technology for the essential equipment that we rely on every day.”
In 2021, there were 6,970 Kia and Hyundai vehicles reported stolen in Milwaukee, up from a total of 895 in 2020, a nearly 800% increase. As of mid-December 2022, thefts of Hyundais and Kias in Minneapolis were up 893% from the same point in 2021. Year over year from 2021 to 2022, St. Louis County saw a 1,090% increase in thefts of Kias and Hyundais.
As the attorneys general note in the letter, Kia and Hyundai chose not to include anti-theft immobilizer as standard equipment on several vehicle models sold in the United States during a period when every other car manufacturer was doing so, and even though the same Kia and Hyundai vehicles were equipped with immobilizers when sold in Canada and Europe.
Kia and Hyundai recently announced a campaign to provide software upgrades for some of the affected vehicle models. But the attorneys general point out in the letter that the announcement “is long overdue and still not enough.” The attorneys general urge the companies “to do everything in your power to accelerate the implementation of the software upgrade and to provide free alternative protective measures for all those owners whose cars cannot support the software upgrade.”
Attorney General Raúl Torrez is joined by the attorneys general from the following jurisdictions in issuing today’s letter: Wisconsin, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Washington.
A copy of the the letter is below.