New York City alleges this was a market specific choice, noting that Hyundai and Kia vehicles sold in European and Canadian markets do, in fact, have vehicle immobilizers installed “because regulations there expressly require them.”
This led to a rise in thefts after the “Kia Challenge” went viral on TikTok earlier this year with videos demonstrating how certain Hyundai vehicles can be quickly hotwired using a simple USB cord.
The result, the city says, was unprecedented, with a 660 increase in Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts in the first four months of 2023 when compared to the previous year.
New York City has announced that it’s now suing the automaker for negligence and being a public nuisance.
Specifically, the city accuses the automaker of choosing to “sacrifice public safety for profits” by eschewing common antitheft technology from certain US model Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
The deal promised to pay out about 145 million to US Hyundai and Kia owners who had their cars stolen or damaged by a theft attempt but the settlement didn’t put the matter to rest.