— Hyundai and Kia car theft in Milwaukee has caused a lawsuit that alleges there are defects in the vehicles, including in the ignition systems.
The class action lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Stefanie Marvin and Katherine Wargin who allege Hyundai and Kia vehicles contain design defects that criminals take advantage of in order to ripoff the cars.
The lawsuit was filed under seal and only limited information is available, but the class action includes:
“All persons residing in Wisconsin who purchased or leased a Class Vehicle,” as well as two sub-classes: (1) “[a]ll persons residing in Wisconsin who purchased or leased a Class Vehicle that was stolen, which required that person to satisfy a deductible on an auto-insurance policy to have the car repaired and/or replaced,” and (2) “[a]ll adult persons residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose safety is affected as a result of this ‘epidemic’ and whose insurance premiums have or will increase as a result of the ease with which the Class Vehicles can be stolen.”
According to Wisconsin media, Milwaukee Police Department data show at least 2,559 Hyundai and 2,600 Kia vehicles have been reported stolen in 2021. And the Wisconsin class action lawsuit alleges Hyundai and Kia car thefts in Milwaukee are an epidemic, with 66% of all thefts involving Hyundai and Kia models.
Hyundai and Kia car thefts in Milwaukee have increased a mind-boggling 2,500% since this time last year, and many of the thieves are allegedly middle school kids who easily steal the vehicles.
Known as the Kia Boys or Kia Boyz, the kids have caused the Milwaukee Police Department to provide free steering wheel locks to Hyundai and Kia owners.
The class action lawsuit defendants include Hyundai, Kia and their design center called the Hyundai Kia America Technical Center, or HATCI.
"As the Complaint details, these car thieves figured out what an entire team of Hyundai and Kia engineers seemingly missed: the companies’ vehicles are designed and manufactured with subpar security measures, thereby making them incredibly easy to steal. These design flaws pose significant safety risks and create a substantial financial burden for consumers." — Wisconsin Hyundai and Kia class action lawsuit
What Allows the Hyundai and Kia Car Thefts in Milwaukee?
Although the lawsuit was filed under seal, local Wisconsin media reports describe the possible design defects that caused the class action lawsuit.
The reports allege a criminal can break or pry out a rear window which isn't connected to the vehicle theft alarm system, remove a panel and allegedly start the Hyundai or Kia car by using a USB port or cable.
The affected Hyundai and Kia vehicles allegedly are not equipped with engine immobilizers which are common in vehicles with push-button ignitions.
The Hyundia and Kia Milwaukee car theft class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin: Marvin, et al., v. Kia America, Inc., et al.
The plaintiffs are represented by Barton Legal S.C.