Baltimore blames Hyundai and Kia for making cars too easy to steal, launches suit

Conversely, Kia and Hyundai blamed those who steal cars for vehicle theft.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

Baltimore, Maryland has become the latest left-leaning American city to blame auto manufacturers for the "vehicular crime wave" sweeping the region.

The city filed a lawsuit against both Kia and Hyundai on May 11, arguing that their cars are too easy for criminals to break into.

According to WBALTV, Baltimore claimed in its lawsuit that Kia and Hyundai's decision not to equip vehicles with "industry-standard vehicle immobilization technology" was behind the 95 percent spike in car thefts in the city over the past year.

To back up their claim, officials noted that Kias and Hyundais make up a staggering 40 percent of all vehicles stolen in Baltimore in 2022.

"These cost-cutting measures employed by Hyundai and Kia at the expense of public safety are unacceptable," Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. "They have left our residents vulnerable to crime and are significantly burdening our police resources."

The mayor's sentiments were echoed by Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who said officials "must demand more from these manufacturers in addressing this increase in vehicle thefts," calling the lawsuit "a first step in holding these manufacturers accountable and establishing necessary safeguards to improve the quality of life for our residents."

In a statement to WBALTV, Kia noted that it had followed all government regulations on theft protection measures, and blamed criminals for spreading information on how to break into their vehicles online.

"To address these crimes," Kia said, "we continue to roll out a free, enhanced security software upgrade to restrict the unauthorized operation of vehicle ignition systems and we are also providing steering wheel locks for impacted owners at no cost to them."

Other cities, including Cleveland, Milwaukee, Seattle, and St. Louis have also sued the car companies. 

The auto manufacturer dismissed the lawsuits as being "without merit," and reiterated that it was aware of the problem and acting accordingly.

Hyundai also stressed that it had complied with all regulations, and echoed Kia's sentiments regarding the way criminals spread knowledge online.

In February, the automakers pushed out free software updates for millions of vehicles in an effort to stop the spike in thefts which was attributed to a TikTok challenge. Missing anti-theft protections in the vehicles were revealed on the platform through a video that showed users how to hot-wire Kia and Hyundai cars with a USB cord and a screwdriver.


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