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The leftist mayor of Chicago, jumping on the bandwagon a little late, is blaming automakers for car theft in Chicago, filing suit against Hyundai and Kia and accusing them of fostering a “steep rise” in crime.
Last week, United States District Judge James V. Selna, ruling in a class action suit brought against Kia and Hyundai that accused them of failing to equip certain models with an engine immobilizer, denied the parties’ request for preliminary approval of a $145 million settlement reached only days before. He directed the parties to change the agreement to “fashion a matrix for reimbursement that aligns with each Class Member’s vehicle’s estimated value, rather than taking an average of all vehicles and reducing it by 40%.” He told the parties involved to demonstrate how the technology works, its pitfalls and possible solutions.
Now Democratic Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and the city are filing suit against Kia and Hyundai, claiming they did not include “industry-standard engine immobilizers” in some of their cars, prompting a “steep rise” in crime.
“The impact of car theft on Chicago residents can be deeply destabilizing, particularly for low- to middle-income workers who have fewer options for getting to work and taking care of their families,” Johnson declared. “The failure of Kia and Hyundai to install basic auto-theft prevention technology in these models is sheer negligence, and as a result, a citywide and nationwide crime spree around automobile theft has been unfolding right before our eyes.”
“Because these vehicles are entry-level models, Kia’s and Hyundai’s failure to include engine immobilizers disproportionately impacts low-income Chicago residents. Moreover, offenders have used stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles to commit other crimes, including reckless driving, armed robbery, and murder,” Johnson’s office added.
“In 2023, thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars compromise over half of all Chicago car thefts in 2023,” Fox News noted.
A spokesperson for Hyundai stated, “Hyundai is committed to the comprehensive actions we are undertaking to assist customers and communities affected by the persistent theft of certain vehicles not equipped with push-button ignitions and engine immobilizers. Our dealers across the country are maximizing the number of anti-theft software installations that can be performed on a daily basis, contributing to steadily increasing completion rates, which we report to NHTSA weekly.”