Class motion lawsuit filed in opposition to Kia, Hyundai over viral thefts – WJW FOX 8 Information Cleveland

(KTLA) – Final month, the Los Angeles Police Division alerted the neighborhood to a viral TikTok problem that encourages the theft of Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

One in 5 car thefts this 12 months have been a Kia or Hyundai, police stated, and officers imagine it’s partly as a result of lack of an “immobilizer,” an anti-theft machine that’s absent from key-started Kias and Hyundais manufactured between 2011 and 2021.

With the immobilizer’s absence, the vehicles might be stolen with solely a USB cable and a screwdriver.

On Wednesday, Orange County legal professional Jonathan Michaels filed a class-action lawsuit in opposition to Kia America and Hyundai Motor America. The 2 firms function independently, however Kia’s parent company is Hyundai.

The lawsuit claims the choice by each firms to depend on older expertise led to a rise in thefts and an ensuing lack of worth on the resale market.

“It’s similar to one of many old school keys from the Sixties, simply an precise key. They’re the one producer that we all know of that makes a automobile that doesn’t have an engine immobilizer,” Michaels stated.

Michaels estimated that there are 10 million autos that lack an immobilizer, and every car would value about $500 to repair.

“That’s a couple of $5 billion recall,” he stated.

Kia and Hyundai declined to touch upon pending litigation, although they stated they’re working with police on the difficulty.

The pattern of Kia and Hyundai automobile thefts has been felt across the nation.

Earlier this 12 months, Alissa Sensible of Indiana informed Nexstar’s WXIN she believes the TikTok challenge is to blame for an tried theft of her Kia.

In Norfolk, Virginia, police have noticed a 35% improve in Kia and Hyundai thefts within the first half of July alone, WAVY reported. And police in different municipalities, like Beloit, Wisconsin, and Kentwood, Michigan, are urging Kia and Hyundai homeowners to take additional precautions.

Thieves have been exploiting the immobilizer flaw, and a few are posting their unlawful antics on-line, Sgt. Eric Brunner of the Kent County Sheriff’s Division in Michigan informed Nexstar’s WOOD. Rick Ricart, of Ricart Automotive in Ohio, informed WCMH that at least 30 Kia and Hyundai vehicles had been towed to his store for service throughout one week in June, all with injury to the steering columns.

Sensible, the break-in sufferer in Indiana, additionally informed WXIN she doesn’t suppose TikTok ought to enable the kind of content material which will probably lead to additional break-ins.

“This pattern completely makes me really feel disgusted,” she stated. “It’s actually past me that individuals suppose it’s OK to put up felony acts, not to mention take part in them after seeing them on-line.”

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