Morelle sends letter to Kia and Hyundai, demanding action on rampant vehicle theft

Posted 4 February 2023 at 9:39 am

Press Release, Congressman Joe Morelle

ROCHESTER – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle called on the CEOs of Kia and Hyundai to address the alarming rise in automobile thefts in Rochester and across the country due to security flaws in their vehicles.

“These known security flaws in Kia and Hyundai automobiles have left our community vulnerable and created a public safety crisis that demands immediate attention,” wrote Congressman Joe Morelle in his letter. “I urge you to take responsibility for this alarming situation and accelerate efforts to ensure consumers are able to access security solutions free of charge. No customer should have to pay the bill for Kia and Hyundai’s failure to install standard security measures on their vehicles.”

From 2015-2019, Kia and Hyundai failed to install certain anti-theft devices in many of their vehicles, leaving them heavily susceptible to theft. In 2015, 96% of all other vehicles had installed these standard safety features, but only 26% of Kia and Hyundai 2015 models had kept that pace with the rest of the industry. Now, instructional videos detailing how to steal these vehicles have become widespread on the social media platform TikTok, leading to a significant increase in car thefts.

According to the Rochester Police Department, 116 of the first 168 cars stolen in 2023 were manufactured by Kia or Hyundai. On this current pace, Rochester is projected to see more than double the number of car thefts this year compared to 2022. Multiple stolen vehicles have also been linked to smash-and-grab burglaries impacting local businesses. In addition to the financial consequences of these crimes and the threat to public safety, this increase in crime is also putting an additional strain on local law enforcement.

Congressman Morelle continues to urge TikTok to moderate the dangerous content shared on its platform, including these instructional videos that encourage thefts, and will be taking additional action in the coming days.