States Push for Recall on Kia, Hyundai

Close-up of Dashboard of KIA Motors, interior of car | Image by Savvapanf Photo, Shutterstock

More than a dozen states are urging the federal government to recall Hyundai and Kia vehicles made between 2011 and 2022 due to a lack of anti-theft features.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, along with 17 other attorneys general, sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking them to recall Hyundai and Kia vehicles that failed to feature anti-theft devices that were standard “in almost every other new car manufactured during that time period.” 

The letter states that the theft of Kia and Hyundai vehicles has led to at least eight deaths and numerous injuries. 

“Hyundai and Kia made a decision to forgo a standard safety feature that would help protect owners’ investments, and now their customers are paying the price. It’s time for Hyundai and Kia to take responsibility for their poor decision which is hurting American families and putting public safety at risk. They must remedy this decision, now,” Bonta said in a statement.

A viral challenge on TikTok, known as “Kia Boys,” led to an increase in awareness of the lack of anti-theft features that are present in these vehicles that use a mechanical key, according to CNBC. 

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the challenge highlighted vehicles that do not have immobilizers, showing users how to hot-wire Hyundai and Kia vehicles with only a USB cord and a screwdriver.

Last year, Los Angeles officials say the trend led to an 85% increase in car theft of Hyundai and Kia vehicles compared to 2021, per CNBC. 

The Kia and Hyundai models that still use a mechanical key are twice as likely to be stolen, according to CNN. 

Kia stated that the company remains focused on the issue but that a recall is “neither appropriate nor necessary under federal law,” according to USA Today. 

Hyundai said it was in communication with the NHTSA on how it can make its vehicles “fully compliant with federal anti-theft requirements,” according to USA Today. 

Bonta’s letter said that the companies need to do more to address the issue.

“Hyundai and Kia announced that they will initiate voluntary service campaigns to offer software updates for certain vehicles with this starting-system vulnerability. Unfortunately, however, this is an insufficient response to the problem and does not adequately remedy the safety concerns facing vehicle owners and the public,” Bonta’s letter read. 

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