London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Thefts prompt recall of Kia, Hyundai cars in US

Thefts prompt recall of Kia, Hyundai cars in US

Attorneys general in 17 states on Thursday urged the federal government to recall millions of Kia and Hyundai cars because they are too easy to steal, a response to a sharp increase in thefts fueled by a viral social media challenge.
Some Kia and Hyundai cars sold in the United States over the last decade do not have engine immobilizers, a standard feature on most cars that prevents the engine from starting unless the key is present.

Videos circulating on social media have shown how people can start Kia and Hyundai models by using only a screwdriver and a USB cable. In Los Angeles, thefts of Hyundai and Kia cars increased by about 85 percent in 2022, now accounting for 20 percent of all car thefts in the city, according to the California attorney general’s office.

These social media-inspired thefts have often ended in tragedy, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blaming the stolen car trend for 14 reported crashes and eight deaths. In October, a police commissioner said that a car crash in Buffalo, New York, that left four teenagers dead may have been linked to the social media challenge. In the incident, a total of six teenagers were in a speeding Kia that crashed, Buffalo police said. The car had been reported stolen.

“The bottom line is, Kia’s and Hyundai’s failure to install standard safety features on many of their vehicles have put vehicle owners and the public at risk,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a news release. “Instead of taking responsibility with appropriate corrective action, these carmakers have chosen instead to pass this risk onto consumers and our communities.”

Bonta and the other attorneys general sent a letter on Thursday to NHTSA requesting a nationwide recall. The letter also was signed by attorneys general from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.

Kia said in a statement that it is focused on the issue, “and we continue to take action to address the concerns these attorneys general have raised.” The automaker says more than 165,000 customers have had the software installed, and over 2 million owners have been contacted about it. The company says the vehicles comply with federal safety standards, so a recall isn’t necessary.

Hyundai also said its vehicles comply with federal anti-theft requirements. The company says it rolled out the software upgrade to prevent the thefts two months ahead of schedule, but it did not answer a question about how many vehicles have received it. “We are communicating with NHTSA on our many actions to assist our customers,” the company statement said.

The letter adds to the growing pressure on the South Korea-based automakers. Multiple cities, including St. Louis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Diego, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio, have already sued the automakers.

In September, the Highway Loss Data Institute, a unit of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that Hyundai and Kia cars without immobilizers had a vehicle theft claim rate of 2.18 per 1,000 insured vehicle years. The rest of the industry combined had a rate of 1.21.

Hyundai and Kia announced in February that they would provide software updates for vehicles that require the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the car on. The change also updates the cars’ theft alarm software to extend the length of an alarm from 30 seconds to 1 minute. About 3.8 million Hyundai cars and 4.5 million Kia cars are eligible for the software update.

But the service campaign by the affiliated Korean automakers is not a recall, which comes with reporting requirements and is monitored closely by NHTSA.

The agency said the Hyundai and Kia thefts involve criminal conduct that falls under the jurisdiction of law enforcement. Even so, NHTSA said it has met with the automakers to discuss theft vulnerability as well as software and hardware in the affected models.

The agency said it is getting regular updates on the companies’ plans. “NHTSA will continue to monitor this issue, spread awareness of further updates to local authorities and lend its expertise in efforts to strengthen motor vehicle safety,” the agency said.

But Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said there is no way for the public to track the effectiveness of a company’s internal service campaign. In a recall, NHTSA requires quarterly reports and monitors whether the recall repairs solve the problem, he said. The agency also requires automakers to notify each owner by mail.

“We won’t know how many are on the road with the problem” with a company service campaign, Brooks said. “We’re not going to know if the recall is effective, if notification went out properly.”

Brooks said NHTSA has been slow to react to auto thefts, even though the stolen Hyundais and Kias are causing safety problems on the roads.

Hyundai has said all models produced after Nov. 1, 2021, have immobilizers as standard equipment.

This story was first published on April 20, 2023. It was updated on April 21, 2023 to make clear that videos showing how people can start Kia and Hyundai models by using only a screwdriver and a USB cable were circulating on multiple social media services, not just TikTok.
Comments

Brad 1 year ago
This is government propaganda to create the problem claim it's because of videos online caused the theft of these cars.
The government is trying to take away freedoms as they did with Patriot Act.
The US government along with banks are committing banking crimes daily. Wells Fargo opened fake accounts claimed the account holders didn't pay their mortgage or car payments.
These are the real criminals

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Public Uptake of AI Tools Remains Limited
New Tax Rules on Second Homes in the UK to Address Housing Crisis
Can Europe Transition to a War Economy?
France Implements Stricter Airbnb Regulations
Upcoming Pandemic Inevitable, Warns Former UK Chief Scientific Advisor
British Tourists Assaulted by Bouncers in Pattaya, Thailand
Facebook Delays Removal of Fake Account Exploiting TikTok Star
Billionaire Non-Domicile Flees UK Amid Tax Law Changes
Theresa May Admits Mistakes Over Immigration Policies
Nicki Minaj's Manchester Concert Canceled After Amsterdam Arrest
UK Conservative Party Proposes Mandatory National Service at 18
Kate Middleton's Public Absence Throughout 2024
Asylum Seekers Arriving In UK by Sea Exceed 10,000 This Year
UK Criticizes ICJ Order on Israel's Rafah Assault
Ukraine's Fight Against Corruption Gains Ground Amid War
Czech President Petr Pavel Injured in Motorcycle Accident
Record Number of Abortions in England and Wales
Paul McCartney Honours Bruce Springsteen at Ivor Novello Awards
US and UK to Reject ICJ Ruling on Israel's Rafah Offensive
World Court Orders Immediate Halt to Israeli Offensive in Gaza
Understanding FLiRT COVID Variants and Their Impact
Baltic NATO Members to Construct 'Drone Wall'
Global Life Expectancy Dropped By 2 Years Due To COVID-19
Macron Halts New Caledonia Voting Reform After Riots
Rishi Sunak Shelves Rwanda and Smoking Policies Ahead of Election
US Refuses World Court Jurisdiction
China Conducts Surprise Military Drills Around Taiwan
Grim Polls Predict Major Loss for PM Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak's Campaign for UK Election: Key Issues Highlighted
German Property Crisis Worsens as Foreign Investment Declines
Princess of Wales's Taskforce Calls for Business Investment in Early Childhood
Campaign Groups Condemn UK Report on Protests
Former Royal Marine Charged with Espionage Found Dead
Australian PM Calls for Julian Assange's Freedom
ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants for Israeli and Hamas Leaders
UK's Infected Blood Scandal: Conclusion Nears After Seven Years
Julian Assange Granted Right to Challenge US Extradition
Congo Army Thwarts Attempted Coup Involving Americans and a British Citizen
Ireland's Homeless Gain Voting Rights
Blinken orders crackdown on Israel-Hamas leaks
Julian Assange Faces US Extradition: Key Facts
Jacob Zuma Takes Campaign to ANC Stronghold Soweto
Attempted Assassination of Slovakia PM Robert Fico: Investigation Ongoing
What Happens If an Iranian President Dies in Office?
Spain Recalls Ambassador After Argentina President's Remarks
Rishi Sunak Faces Cabinet Backlash Over Proposed Changes to Foreign Student Visas
Rwanda Denies Entry to Human Rights Researcher
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Reportedly Killed in Helicopter Crash
Blue Origin Resumes Space Tourism with 90-Year-Old Ed Dwight
Rishi Sunak and Wife Akshata Murty Wealthier Than King Charles
×