Minnesota Leaders Call For Kia and Hyundai Recalls Due to Thefts
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Several Minnesota leaders are calling on two automakers to recall and outfit many of the vehicles they manufactured from 2015 through 2021 because they are too easy to steal.
State Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter have sent a joint letter to the CEOs of Kia and Hyundai urging them to "immediately recall an outfit all Kia and Hyundai vehicles missing industry-standard anti-theft technology. In making the request, they cited the "rapidly rising tide of vehicle thefts in the Twin Cities."
The letter says that Minneapolis has seen an 836% increase in the thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles over the past year. St. Paul has seen a 611% increase. According to a news release from the office of the Attorney General, 3293 Kia or Hyundai vehicles were stolen in the Twin Cities in 2022. The total was only 384 in 2021 before social media posts providing simple instructions on how to easily steal the vehicles began popping up, including some that challenged viewers to record videos of themselves committing vehicle theft.
“As the chief legal officer of the State of Minnesota, this issue has my full attention,” Attorney General Ellison said. “The harm caused by these companies goes far beyond car theft and has had a negative impact on everyone's safety. We will continue using the power of the Attorney General's Office to address this problem and use all the tools of the law to help keep Minnesotans safe.”
The affected vehicles from both manufacturers lack anti-theft devices known as engine immobilizers. The technology requires the driver to be in possession of a key fob in order to start the engine. Most other automakers included immobilizers as standard equipment many years ago. Hyundai made the change in 2021 and Kia included the immobilizers as standard equipment in its 2022 models.
The letter sent to the Kia and Hyundai executives also notes that the stolen vehicles have been connected to numerous crimes in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The list includes five murders, more than a dozen shootings, three dozen robberies, and 265 vehicle crashes last year.