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California, Other States Push Kia, Hyundai Recall Over Theft Risk

» Posted July 19, 2023Resources | Share This Post

California and a group of more than a dozen states are calling for a federal recall of Hyundai and Kia vehicles over the cars’ lack of anti-theft features.

The cars’ “easily-bypassed ignition switches and lack of engine immobilizers make them particularly vulnerable to theft,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta wrote in a recent letter to Ann Carlson, acting chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Carlson and the top lawyers for 17 other states are focusing in particular on Hyundai and Kia vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2022. Those cars were produced without basic anti-theft devices that were standard on most vehicles at the time, they say.

“Due to this vulnerability in their starting systems, the vehicles can be hotwired and stolen in a matter of minutes, presenting a serious safety issue nationwide,” Bonta wrote. “Thefts of these Hyundai and Kia vehicles have led to at least eight deaths, numerous injuries and property damage, and they have diverted significant police and emergency services resources from other priorities.”

The companies reportedly have acknowledged the problem but are resisting a federal recall. They instead are floating the idea of a voluntary service campaign.

Motor vehicle thefts have been steadily on the rise in recent years, according to a USA Today report. 

Certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles are among the most likely to be stolen, according to the report. A string of TikTok videos trending on the social media site show just how easy it is for thieves to make off with the cars. Once inside the vehicles, all they need is a flathead screwdriver and a USB-A cable.

At least one major insurance company is reportedly refusing to insure those vehicles because they are too easy to steal. 

“A recall with its accompanying regulatory requirements is needed to address the safety threat of these vehicles,” the AGs said in the letter. “We therefore urge NHTSA to work with Hyundai and Kia to implement a recall as soon as possible to prevent additional injuries, fatalities, and related harm to vehicle owners and the public.”

Hyundai, Kia Safety Issues

Theft is not the only risk for Hyundai and Kia owners. Hyundai has issued several recalls in recent years, citing serious defects that pose real safety hazards.

The company, which also owns the Kia brand, announced earlier this year that it is calling back nearly 600,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles over fears that they could catch fire. It also warned owners of those vehicles to park outside and away from structures until the vehicles are inspected and repaired.

The companies were forced to pay a combined $210 million after NHTSA found that they slow-played the recall of 1.6 million vehicles for engine problems. More recently, Hyundai announced it was recalling some 26,000 vehicles whose windshields could detach in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injuries. 

Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney

California car owners and lessors have some important rights and protections under the state’s lemon law. You do not need to wait for a recall to get a defective vehicle fixed.

If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.  

Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney.

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