Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have requested a U.S. choose to reject lawsuits filed by 17 cities – together with San Diego – for failing to put in anti-theft expertise in tens of millions of their automobiles.
The lawsuits adopted 1000’s of Hyundai and Kia thefts that used a way popularized on TikTok and different social media channels.
Along with San Diego, the cities suing Kia and Hyundai embody New York, Seattle, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Columbus.
The automakers, managed by the identical conglomerate, mentioned in a courtroom submitting they need to not held accountable for thefts “ensuing from an unprecedented prison social-media phenomenon.”
They contend that cities’ “lax policing and prosecution insurance policies” and “budgetary decision-making that diverted public security sources away from the prevention and disruption of auto theft and reckless joyriding” was extra related than Hyundai or Kia failing to equip automobiles with anti-theft immobilizers.
In February, the automakers mentioned they might supply software program upgrades to eight.3 million U.S. automobiles to assist curb thefts.
TikTok and different social media movies that present the right way to steal Kia and Hyundai automobiles with out push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft gadgets have unfold nationwide.
This had led to automobile thefts that resulted in not less than 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities within the automobiles, the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) mentioned in February.
Immobilizers had been normal on 96% of U.S automobiles by 2015, however had been normal on solely 26% of 2015 mannequin yr Hyundai and Kia automobiles, in response to the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security’s (IIHS) Freeway Loss Knowledge Institute.
The automakers famous that NHTSA doesn’t require immobilizers, not like another international locations.
Kia and Hyundai automobiles characterize a big share of stolen automobiles in lots of U.S. cities, in response to knowledge from police and state officers. Many Hyundai and Kia automobiles haven’t any digital immobilizers, which forestall break-ins and bypassing the ignition.
In Could, the automakers agreed to a client class-action lawsuit settlement value $200 million over rampant automobile thefts of their automobiles. A choose rejected preliminary approval however the firms will tackle issues later this month.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; modifying by Angus MacSwan)