Posted on May 12, 2023

Baltimore Sues Hyundai, Kia Over Massive Spike in Car Thefts

Justin Fenton, Baltimore Banner, May 11, 2023

The city of Baltimore has filed a federal lawsuit against car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai, joining a number of cities who say the companies created a public nuisance by making cars that can be easily stolen.

“Hyundai and Kia’s decision to put cost savings and profits over public safety has had significant consequences for Baltimore and its residents, as it has in other cities,” the lawsuit says.

Car thefts in the city have nearly doubled this year compared to the same time last year, part of a nationwide trend after videos showing how to easily steal the vehicles racked up millions of views on TikTok.

Certain Kia or Hyundai models can be stolen using a screwdriver and a USB charging cord.

Cleveland, St. Louis and Seattle are among the other cities that started suing the the car companies earlier this year. Baltimore’s lawsuit says the companies “failed to keep up with industry standards,” and claim it was a result of business decisions made to reduce costs and boost profits “notwithstanding decades of academic literature and research supporting the deterrent effects” of anti-theft technology.

“The dramatically increased rate of Hyundai and Kia theft in Baltimore has required city and police resources that would not have been needed but for Hyundai and Kia’s deliberate failures,” the lawsuit says. “Car thieves — many of them teenagers— take advantage of these failures and engage in reckless driving, creating substantial safety risks to themselves and Baltimore residents and their property.”