Attorney Asks Governor Newsom, State of California to Sue Hyundai and Kia Over Ongoing Vehicle Thefts

The automaker's inaction, and the dealers' actions to take advantage of affected owners escalated a lawsuit to a possible state-level issue.

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2020 Kia Optima
2020 Kia Optima
Image: Kia

Hyundai and Kia owners are not happy. Owners in recent months have faced ongoing threats or unfortunate successes of having their vehicles stolen due to Hyundai’s lack of installing engine immobilizers. Then the Kia Boys entered the picture, with a video demonstrating just how easy it was to steal those vehicles making the rounds online. When Hyundai presented a poor solution that would cost owners a significant chunk of change, vehicle owners banded together to take on the automaker in a lawsuit. And today, the firm behind the lawsuit, California-based MLC Attorneys at Law, is asking the State to get involved.

This morning, MLG principal attorney Jonathan Michaels sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom asking for the state to initiate litigation against Hyundai over the thefts. The law office, in a press release, also highlighted the rising number of vehicle thefts in cities like Los Angeles and the number of Hyundai/Kia vehicles in the state.

The Los Angeles Police Department has seen car thefts nearly double since the same time last year, diverting substantial resources to the widespread problem. According to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, more than 1,600 Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been stolen this year in the city of Los Angeles alone. Other cities are experiencing a similar increase in thefts.

“There are more Kia and Hyundai vehicles in California than any other part of the country,” said Jonathan Michaels, principal of MLG Attorneys at Law. “The rampant theft of the vehicles in this state is having a significant impact on the availability of public resources,” he continued. “This is not an expense citizens of the state should be required to bear – particularly when Hyundai has chosen to profit greatly from the sale of its aftermarket kit. If Kia and Hyundai won’t stand behind their vehicles and issue a recall, California should bring legal action forcing them to do so.”


A recent investigation carried out by the firm, had also found that dealers are making things worse. Dealers are reportedly overcharging for the $150 kit provided by Hyundai — some charging owners upwards of $750 for the kit and neither of those include charges for dealer installation. MLG also found that Hyundai stands to make a profit off the sell of the kits, some $158 per kit sold. The class action suit wants the company to issue a recall and cover the costs of the security fix.

Image for article titled Attorney Asks Governor Newsom, State of California to Sue Hyundai and Kia Over Ongoing Vehicle Thefts
Screenshot: MLG Attorneys At Law

As of the time of this publishing, Governor Newsom and the State of California have yet to respond. However, considering this ordeal is a problem nationwide, they may be forced to. If California does get involved, it’ll just add to the mounting problems that Hyundai seems to be having lately.