Columbus files lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai over escalating car thefts – Spectrum News 1 | CarTailz

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Officials from the city of Columbus are filing a lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai for selling vehicles vulnerable to theft, according to a news release Monday.

City Attorney Zach Klein said automakers have cut back on security features, leading to an increase in thefts and millions of dollars in costs to the city and customers.


what you need to know

  • Columbus city officials are filing a lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai over the sale of burglar-prone vehicles
  • City Attorney Zach Klein said automakers have cut back on security features, leading to an increase in thefts and millions of dollars in costs to the city and customers.
  • In Columbus, the number of Kia and Hyundai thefts increased by 450% in the past year
  • City officials say the thefts over the past year have cost consumers, insurance companies, local governments and law enforcement millions of dollars

Klein announced his intention to file a lawsuit as Columbus continues to grapple with a spate of vehicle thefts. In Columbus, the number of Kia and Hyundai thefts increased by 450% in the past year.

The spike brings the city to 17 thefts a day this year, with Kia and Hyundai models accounting for nearly two-thirds of all vehicle theft attempts in the city.

“For years, Kia and Hyundai have cut corners and sold vehicles that they knew were so unsafe that they could easily be stolen by a teenager with access to basic tools and a TikTok account,” Klein said in a release . “The negligence of Kia and Hyundai in the pursuit of corporate profits is unscrupulous. It is time we held these automakers accountable for defrauding consumers and passing the buck and taking responsibility for cleaning up the mess they have wreaked on the rest of us.”

The vehicles lack immobilizers or other safety features such as reinforced steering columns and sensors to detect glass breakage.

On social media, content creators have described how to steal a vehicle in minutes using nothing but a screwdriver and a USB charger. City officials believe a majority of the thefts are committed by youths, including a group called the “Kia Boyz,” who steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles and publicize their exploits online.

“In my 16 months as chief of police, I have often asked what else we as a agency can do to save our children from themselves. We enforce the laws, work with parents, work with our justice system and investigate programming in our schools,” said Columbus Police Commissioner Elaine Bryant. “And on this issue we asked Kia and Hyundai for their support. To date, we have not received any meaningful collaboration. These automakers should be just as concerned as we are that their products are so readily available and misused for criminal acts. As a result, our children are not only harming the community, but harming themselves. We owe it to our children and our community to do everything we can to prevent these often tragic events from happening.”

City officials say the thefts have cost consumers, insurance companies, local governments and law enforcement millions of dollars over the past year, not including additional damage, including youth injured or killed during spray rides.

Corresponding forbes, both automakers began offering safety kits earlier this year. There were no recalls or repairs for the vehicles to create more safety.

“The victims of these thefts are not CEOs and executives, but teachers and waiters, retail workers and nurses — people whose lives have been turned upside down and who have likely spent nights lying awake thinking about how to afford it.” buy a new car while putting food on the table and earning rent,” said Klein. “These victims had their cars stolen through no fault of their own. You shouldn’t have to be responsible for fixing this. The companies that put profit first should be held accountable.”

The city plans to ask the court to compel both Kia and Hyundai to reduce the public nuisance caused by their inaction and the significant costs incurred by the city, the press release said.

In addition, officials plan to seek remedies to ban further sales of unsafe vehicles and require Kia and Hyundai to recall, repair or replace unsafe vehicles currently on the road and claim over $25,000 in damage. Dollars, punitive damages, legal fees, and pre and post damages -judgment interest in the case.

“Kia and Hyundai have marketed and sold cars they knew were unsafe and now refuse to take responsibility as others must bear the consequences of their choices. That’s not right,” said Columbus Attorney General Rich Coglianese. “This is a mess these automakers have created and the City of Columbus will use every means we have to hold them accountable for their inaction.”

Klein said he intends to file the lawsuit on behalf of the city of Columbus in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in the coming weeks, but first needs the city council to approve a contract to hire a special attorney for the city in the case, Allen, Stovall, Neuman and Ashton LLP.

The motion will be submitted to the Council at its November 7 meeting.

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