Attorneys General from 23 states including Wisconsin issue letter to Kia, Hyundai over rampant car thefts
The two manufacturers are the two most commonly stolen car brands in Milwaukee and other cities in the U.S.
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (TMJ4) - Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul says he will be leading a coalition of 23 attorneys general across the country to urge the leaders of Kia and Hyundai to do more to stop rampant thefts of some vulnerable models.
According to the letter signed by the AGs and addressed to legal officers of the two companies, “We write regarding the ongoing crisis of thefts of Hyundai and Kia model automobiles not equipped with anti-theft immobilizers. The recent announcement1 of a customer service campaign – not a recall – which combines warning stickers, longer alarms and a software upgrade, is positive news but less than is called for under the circumstances. Our concerns with the adequacy of the newly-announced measures are informed by your companies’ slow response and lack of acceptance of responsibility for the crisis over the past few years.”
Kaul’s office notes that the makers of Kia and Hyundai decided to not include anti-theft immobilizers as standard equipment on several models sold in the U.S. Officials say the companies made this decision at a time when other major manufacturers were including anti-theft immobilizers on all models and as Kia and Hyundai themselves were using the immobilizers on different models of vehicles.
The AGs called a recent effort from Kia and Hyundai a “customer service campaign” and said it is long overdue and not enough. The AGs instead urge the companies to do everything in their power to improve the situation for owners of these vulnerable vehicles, including accelerating the implementation of a software update (to improve security) and providing free alternative protective measures.
“Your companies’ decisions not to install anti-theft immobilizers as standard equipment on certain vehicles sold in the United States has caused ongoing consumer harm and undermined public safety in communities across the country. It is well past time that you acknowledge your companies’ role and take swift and comprehensive action to remedy it,” according to the letter.
In signing the letter, Kaul is joined by his counterparts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, along with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.
I join @WisDOJ Attorney General Kaul insisting Kia and Hyundai be held accountable for the deficiencies in their ignition systems. While auto thefts are down significantly, the harm in Milwaukee has been costly. pic.twitter.com/R2OcZSbgcW— Mayor Cavalier Johnson (@MayorOfMKE) March 20, 2023
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