Columbus, Ohio City Attorney to Sue Hyundai, Kia Over Thefts

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Columbus, Ohio City Attorney Zach Klein said earlier this week that he intends to file a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia.


He's going to sue over what he says is a failure to install anti-theft devices. That's because thefts of cars from the two automakers are on the rise in the city.

From The Columbus Dispatch: "As of Oct. 18, approximately 2,740 Kia or Hyundai models had been reported stolen to Columbus police, compared to 461 during the same time frame last year ― a whopping 461 percent year-over-year increase."

Klein complains that Hyundai and Kia didn't include security features such as engine immobilizers, reinforced steering columns, and sensors that would activate when the window glass was broken.

“Kia and Hyundai’s negligence in pursuit of corporate profit is unconscionable," Klein said in a news release. "It’s time we held these automakers accountable for cheating consumers and passing the buck and responsibility to clean up the mess they made onto the rest of us.”

Hyundais and Kias have been vulnerable to theft this year, thanks in part to a video tutorial that showed how easy it could be to steal these cars.

Columbus law enforcement officials also complained that the automakers weren't responsive.

Hyundai and Kia point out that their cars meet required safety standards and they've offered security solutions via their dealerships while they work on patches for future vehicles.

Klein is asking for sales of the affected vehicles to stop, a recall to be forced, and damages in excess of $25,000. He needs city council approval to hire a law firm as special counsel. Once he does that, he will file the suit in the coming weeks.

St. Louis has also threatened to sue the automakers.

[Image: Kia]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 19 comments
  • 95_SC 95_SC on Nov 09, 2022

    They have an immobilizer. The bearings fail and the car is immobilized.

  • Mnmarlin Mnmarlin on Nov 12, 2022

    Seems ridiculous to blame the manufacturer and not those doing the stealing. But that pretty much sums up gun control efforts.

  • Alan Like all testing and analysis work you need a good set of requirements. If you don't you'll find or end up with gaps.
  • Alan In aviation there is more vigourous testing, well, until Boeing changed things.
  • Alan This outcome was certain.The US, Australia and Canada need to approach this differently. A policy towards plug in hybrids should of been a first step. As in CAFE gradually tighten FE from there.There's no reason why you can't have a 2 litre F-150 with electric motors putting out 400-500hp. A 2 litre turbo is good for 200hp more than enough to move a pickup.Also increase fuel tax/excise every year to fill the void in loss of revenue.
  • Doug brockman hardly. Their goals remain to punish us by mandating unsafe unreliable unaffordable battery powered cars
  • Lorenzo It looks like the curves are out and the boxy look is back. There's an upright windscreen, a decided lack of view obstructing swoop in the rear side panels, and you can even see out of the back window. Is Lexus borrowing from the G-Class Mercedes, or the Range Rover?
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