Chicago Suing Automakers Over Rise In Car Thefts

The city of Chicago is suing two major automobile manufacturers, citing the increase in vehicle thefts in the city. Windy City leaders announced that they were filing a suit against Kia and Hyundai over the perceived ease of stealing their models.

According to the city and cited by local press, the Korean automakers did not “install standard technology they knew was effective at deterring thieves.”

Videos allegedly show the means of stealing such vehicles, including utilizing USB plugs to start them. Much of the information about stealing the vehicles spread through the social media platform TikTok.

Chicago has faced a significant increase in car thefts in recent years. Earlier this year, the city saw its rate of car theft increase by more than 150% compared to 2022. In turn, August 2022 represented an eight-fold increase in the number of Kias and Hyundais stolen compared to the previous year.

Current Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) previously called for the defunding of police and opposed filling more than 1,000 vacancies in the city’s police department.

Chicago was not the first major city to target the two carmakers. New York City is suing Kia and Hyundai under similar circumstances.

The Big Apple is claiming that the automakers’ designs represented a “public nuisance.” The city’s suit alleges that the two companies deviated “from industry norms by not including engine immobilizers as a standard safety feature.”

“This case is a clear example of what happens to public safety when car manufacturers choose not to include standard anti-theft technology in their cars,” New York City alleged.

Like Chicago, New York has also seen a sharp increase in the theft of Kias and Hyundais amid a wider trend of car thefts.

The theft issue became so widespread that earlier this year the New York Police Department announced that it would create a special unit to counter the increase in auto theft.

Overall auto thefts have increased 350% compared to 2019 and is up almost 20% compared to 2022.

In addition to the crime in New York and Chicago, Los Angeles has also seen an increase in general car theft and among Kias and Hyundais specifically.