Baltimore is suing Kia and Hyundai, claiming their cars are too easy to steal, joining other U.S. cities such as St. Louis and Seattle, according to the office of Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.
What are the details?
The city of Baltimore filed the suit Thursday against the automakers "for failing to equip their vehicles with industry-standard vehicle immobilization technology," officials said.
The mayor's office said without the vehicle immobilization technology, cars can be started without a key, adding that it's "a flaw that has been the subject of numerous TikTok videos demonstrating the ease with which these cars can be stolen."
Officials said it's resulted in a "rash of thefts of these vehicles not only in Baltimore City but nationwide. Five hundred seventy-seven Kias and Hyundais have been stolen in Baltimore so far this year, a pace that will likely result in a year-end total that more than doubles that of 2022."
Scott said "these cost-cutting measures" by the automakers come "at the expense of public safety" and are "unacceptable."
"They have left our residents vulnerable to crime and are significantly burdening our police resources," the mayor added.
Commissioner Michael Harrison added that Baltimore police have "tracked the striking increase of auto thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles throughout the city. Year-to-date, auto thefts are up 95%, with Kia and Hyundais representing 41% of all stolen vehicles."
The lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, officials said, adding that Richard Gordon and Martin Wolf of Gordon, Wolf & Carney, as well as Sara Gross of the Baltimore City Department of Law, are representing the city.
TheBlaze in January noted Seattle's lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai for the same reason. Also, a story last summer about an 11-year-old boy who was arrested in connection with an assault and attempted carjacking of a Kia Sorrento in western Michigan included a note from police that they were investigating whether the crime was related to other recent Kia thefts in metro Grand Rapids. Police also warned of a national theft trend targeting Kia and Hyundai vehicles because they operate with a standard key rather than a fob, which makes them relatively easy to steal, WOOD-TV reported.
This story has been updated.
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