City of Cleveland to vote on resolution pushing for lawsuits against Hyundai, Kia

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 8:06 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2023 at 12:23 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland City Council on Monday will be voting on an emergency resolution urging Mayor Justin Bibb and his office to sue Hyundai and Kia following the uptrend of vehicle thefts in the city.

The resolution, sponsored by Ward 13 Councilman Kristopher Harsh, alleges that the two motor companies failed to equip vehicles made between 2015 and 2021 with standard security features. The resolution states the inclusion of standard security systems “could have helped” prevent the thefts, which has become a part of a TikTok trend.

Multiple local police departments have since given out free steering wheel locks to potential victims.

Ward 13 Council Member Kris Harsh supports the resolution. He said the car brands need to be more the protect drivers and their vehicles.

“The manufacturers of these cars need to issue a recall, bring the cars back in and put the proper antitheft devices in them” said Harsh.

A passed resolution would be a recommendation for the city to file a lawsuit; however, the decision lies within the city to do so.

19 News obtained a copy of the resolution, which can be viewed in its entirety below:

Harsh told 19 News a handful of car thefts have happened in his own Old Brooklyn neighborhood.

“I have neighbors who have had their cars stolen twice in one week. They have actually been stolen earlier in the week, recovered, and then stolen later in the week as well” said Harsh. “It’s really disheartening for people”

Both Hyundai and Kia announced free software upgrades to customers driving the impacted vehicles on Feb. 14.

A Hyundai spokesperson issued the following response to 19 News when asked about the pending resolution:

“In response to increasing thefts targeting Hyundai vehicles without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices in the U.S., Hyundai introduced a free anti-theft software upgrade to prevent the vehicles from starting during a method of theft popularized on TikTok and other social media. All Hyundai vehicles produced since November 2021 are equipped with an engine immobilizer as standard equipment. Hyundai is also providing free steering wheel locks to law enforcement agencies for distribution to local residents who own or lease affected models.”

19 News reached out to Kia for comment.

This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.