Attorney General Kaul Leads 22 Attorneys General in Urging Kia and Hyundai for Swifter Action to Protect Vehicle Owners, Public Safety

Mar 20 2023

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul is leading a coalition of 23 attorneys general in calling on the leadership of 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 as a result of the companies’ failure to equip vehicles with anti-theft immobilizers. Alarmingly high theft rates for Kia and Hyundai models continue across the country, and many of these thefts are connected to other crimes, further endangering the public.


“Kia and Hyundai need to step up to address the scourge of theft of vehicles they manufactured without anti-theft immobilizers,” said Attorney General Kaul. “These companies must act swiftly to reduce further harm from the high rates of theft of Kias and Hyundais.”


In 2021, there were 6,970 Kia and Hyundai vehicles reported stolen in Milwaukee, up from a total of 895 in 2020, a nearly 800% increase. While car thefts slightly declined in Milwaukee in 2022, there were still six Kia and Hyundai cars being stolen every day as of the end of September 2022. Thefts of Hyundais and Kias in Minneapolis increased by 836% in 2022 over the previous year. Year over year from 2021 to 2022, St. Louis County saw a 1,090% increase in thefts of Kias and Hyundais.


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.


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.”


In issuing today’s letter, Attorney General Kaul is joined by attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, 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, along with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.