Monroe County Legislature wants to join lawsuits against Kia and Hyundai

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Monroe County Legislature wants to join the lawsuits against the makers of Kia and Hyundai.

Already, the cities of Rochester, Buffalo, and New York have launched lawsuits against the automakers to hold them responsible for the cost associated with increased car thefts.

The lawsuits allege that automakers failed to add anti-theft technology so the cars without push-button ignitions are easy to hotwire with only a USB cable. Videos circulating on TikTok show people how to steal the cars.

Legislature President Sabrina Lamar is calling on County Executive Adam Bello and Sheriff Todd Baxter to address what she calls an epidemic of car thefts in Monroe County. Lamar said the automakers have known about the security flaw for years and did nothing to correct it.

Some stolen Kias and Hyundais have been used to intentionally smash through buildings during burglaries. A stolen Kia was found at the scene of a smash-and-grab at the Montage Music Hall.

In April, Rochester Police reported that the city had a nearly 2,400% increase in thefts of Kias and Hyundais in the first three months of 2023. The RPD Open Data Portal reports more than 1,880 car thefts so far this year.

In May, Kia America Inc. and Hyundai Motor America, Inc. announced an agreement to resolve a class action lawsuit with owners of certain Kia and Hyundai models between 2011 through 2022 without push-button ignitions and immobilizers.