FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A dramatic increase in the thefts of vehicles made by Kia and Hyundai has prompted the City of Fort Wayne to file a lawsuit against the two manufacturers. Fort Wayne joins a host of other cities who have also filed similar lawsuits.
At issue is a security flaw that allows thieves to easily steal the vehicles using just a screwdriver and a USB cable. The specific Kia and Hyundai models are not equipped with push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. Both companies have acknowledged the security flaw.
According to a news release issued to the media by the City of Fort Wayne, there was a 289% increase in thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in 2022 with a total of 105 compared to 27 in 2021. In the first nine months of 2023, Fort Wayne recorded 154 thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, already 47% more thefts than all of 2022.
Keller Rohrback has been hired as lead counsel for the case.
Back in February, Kia and Hyundai announced it would provide a free software update for affected vehicles. The effort was in response to a TikTok social media challenge that spread nationwide and had resulted in at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities according to a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration article posted on February 14.
The lawsuit requests a jury trial and 10 items are listed under “Prayer for Relief,” which is similar to damages or other remedies being sought by the plaintiff, which in this case is the City of Fort Wayne.
They include “awarding plaintiff actual and compensatory damages,” awarding plaintiff equitable relief to fund automobile theft prevention, and “entering an order that the conduct alleged herin constitutes a public nuisance under Indiana law.”
You can read the entire lawsuit here.