City of Syracuse to join lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Just days after three teens were shot inside a stolen Hyundai, the City of Syracuse decided to join in on a multi-city lawsuit against the manufacturers of Hyundai and Kia for creating a public safety nuisance.

This comes after there’s been a large uptick in stolen vehicles in the last year in Syracuse. Multiple notable incidents have occurred that involved stolen cars, including the two teens who were shot and killed by a deputy after stealing a car and trying to run the deputy over.

“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,” said Mayor Ben Walsh’s Office.

The lawsuit was filed by Syracuse in the Central District of California, which is where the litigation against Hyundai and Kia thefts have been centralized.

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, according to the mayor’s office.

“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.”

This lawsuit involves both owners of and those who lease Kia and Hyundai cars, insurers who have paid out claims as a result of the Hyundai and Kia thefts, and governmental entities. The City of Syracuse has now been forced to expend law enforcement and other resources to address the significant public safety threat posed by these vehicles.

According to the mayor’s office, the city’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.

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