(CTN News) – In a joint statement, the attorneys general of California and 17 other states on Thursday called for federal regulators to recall Hyundai and Kia vehicles. They said they are more likely to be stolen because they lack safety features that are standard in other vehicles.
It is estimated that Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp. vehicles represent a large share of stolen cars in several cities across the United States, according to data compiled by police and state officials.
Most cars have been fitted with anti-theft devices that are industry-standard in recent years, but Korean automakers do not have push-button ignitions or immobilizing anti-theft devices that are industry-standard.
The largest shareholder of Kia Motors is Hyundai Motor.
As part of the effort to urge a recall of many Hyundai and Kia vehicles, the California Attorney General stated in a statement that the failure to provide standard safety features put the public and vehicle owners at risk. A letter has been sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in response to these concerns.
A Hyundai spokesperson said that its vehicles are equipped with engine immobilizers, which prevent the vehicle from being started unless the appropriate key or fob is used, thus making it compliant with federal anti-theft laws.
A statement issued by Kia stated that “these specific models comply fully with all applicable federal standards, therefore a recall is neither necessary nor appropriate under federal law,” according to the statement.
According to the report released last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute, Hyundai and Kia vehicles accounted for nearly twice as many theft cases as all other manufacturers among the 2015-2019 model-year vehicles, which was based on data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
There have been a number of TikTok videos published, which show how to steal Kia and Hyundai cars without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. These videos have spread nationwide, resulting in a number of car thefts.
In February, the automakers announced that they would be offering software upgrades to 8.3 million vehicles in the United States in order to help thwart thefts.
In spite of this, upgrades will not be available for many affected vehicles until June and some models from 2011-2022 cannot be upgraded.