Calls Mount for Kia & Hyundai to Address Crisis of Car Thefts Due to Failure to Equip Cars with Anti-theft Immobilizers

Attorney General Tong, along with a nationwide coalition of 23 attorneys general, is calling on Kia America (Kia) and Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) to take swift and comprehensive action to help remedy the crisis of car thefts that has occurred due to the companies’ failure to equip vehicles with anti-theft immobilizers.

Alarmingly high theft rates for Kia and Hyundai models continue across the country, including several instances in Connecticut.

As the attorneys general note in the letter, Kia and Hyundai chose not to include anti-theft immobilizers as standard equipment on several vehicle models sold in the United States during a period when every other car manufacturer was doing so, and even though the same Kia and Hyundai vehicles were equipped with immobilizers when sold in Canada and Europe.

LAPD shared this graphic in a community alert warning about a TikTok challenge that encourages vehicle thefts.

“Kia and Hyundai failed to equip its vehicles with industry-standard anti-theft technology, and its customers are now paying a steep price. These cars are now disproportionately targeted by thieves at rates so high some insurers are refusing to cover them. Kia and Hyundai need to make this right—quickly, and without nickel and diming their customers,” said Attorney General Tong on Tuesday.

An anti-theft immobilizer is an electronic device which prevents a car from being hot-wired and stolen by someone who doesn’t have the key.

Kia and Hyundai recently announced a campaign to provide software upgrades for some of the affected vehicle models. But the attorneys general point out in the letter that the announcement “is long overdue and still not enough.” The attorneys general urge the companies “to do everything in your power to accelerate the implementation of the software upgrade and to provide free alternative protective measures for all those owners whose cars cannot support the software upgrade.”

Attorney General Tong is joined by the attorneys general from the following jurisdictions in issuing today’s letter: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, along with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.