Mayor Walsh Announces City Joins Lawsuit Against Hyundai and Kia

Published on November 08, 2023

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced the City of Syracuse has joined a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Hyundai and Kia for creating a public safety nuisance.  The City’s action says Hyundai and Kia cars are stolen at alarming rates in Syracuse because they lack the basic anti-theft technology, also known as engine immobilizers, that has been used by other carmakers for decades to effectively prevent rampant vehicle theft.

Syracuse filed its lawsuit in the Central District of California, where the litigation against Hyundai and Kia for thefts has been centralized. A Federal Magistrate in California on Monday accepted consolidating Syracuse’s action with the claims of 24 other governmental entities, including Buffalo, Rochester, New York City, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Seattle, and St. Louis, among others.

“As we continue to do everything in our power to hold car thieves accountable, we are asking the Court to hold the makers of Hyundai and Kia accountable too,” said Mayor Walsh. “The people of Syracuse and communities across the nation should not be subjected to the devastating consequences of Hyundai and Kia’s preventable failures.” 

According to the City’s lawsuit, “The skyrocketing rate of Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts has drastically impacted city and police resources for Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s residents are subjected to increasingly dangerous conditions on their streets, as car thieves (many of them teenagers) are taking advantage of Hyundai's and Kia's failures and engaging in reckless driving, endangering Plaintiff’s employees, residents, and property."

The “multi-district litigation” involves owners and lessors of Kia and Hyundai vehicles; insurers who have paid out claims as a result of the Hyundai and Kia thefts; and governmental entities like Syracuse that have been forced to expend law enforcement and other resources to address the significant public safety threat posed by these vehicles.

Syracuse’s lawsuit asks the court to require the manufacturer to abate the public nuisance, create a relief fund for automobile theft prevention and to pay compensatory and punitive damages.