(Benjamin Yount) – Wisconsin’s attorney general wants Kia and Hyundai to do something about their cars that keep getting stolen.
Attorney General Josh Kaul, along with attorneys general from 22 other states, on Monday sent a letter to Kia and Hyundai pressing them for solutions.
“Alarmingly high rates of theft of these vehicles have been sustained over a long period of time. Your consumers continue to be harmed as a result, and worse yet, the thefts contribute to an erosion of public safety as they are frequently accompanied by reckless driving and the commission of other crimes, further endangering our communities,” the letter states. “While your companies are reported to have taken some steps to address this crisis, it hasn’t been enough, and it hasn’t been done fast enough.”
Kaul said most of the cars stolen in both Milwaukee and Madison over the past two years have been either Kia or Hyundai models.
“In 2020 there were 895 thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in Milwaukee. In 2021, there were 6,970.2 While thefts slightly declined in Milwaukee in 2022, there were still six Hyundai and Kia vehicles being stolen every day as of the end of September of last year,” the letter added.
Thieves have figured out a way to start some Kia and Hyundai models without a key.
The letter states the software upgrade from Kia and Hyundai is a start, but it is late and not enough.
“The recent announcement of a customer service campaign – not a recall – which combines warning stickers, longer alarms and a software upgrade, is positive news but less than is called for under the circumstances,” the attorneys general wrote. “Our concerns with the adequacy of the newly announced measures are informed by your companies’ slow response and lack of acceptance of responsibility for the crisis over the past few years.”
Kaul and the other attorneys general want Kia and Hyundai to provide steering wheel locks.
“Kia and Hyundai need to step up to address the scourge of theft of vehicles they manufactured without anti-theft immobilizers,” Kaul said. “These companies must act swiftly to reduce further harm from the high rates of theft of Kias and Hyundais.”
In addition to Wisconsin, attorneys generals from 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, and Utah co-signed Kaul’s letter.
Benjamin Yount / The Center Square