A Seattle City attorney in the US has filed a lawsuit against Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia for the lack of anti-theft technology in some of their models, the carmakers said.
In the suit filed in the federal court, Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison argued the carmakers' failures to install anti-theft technology in some vehicles led to a sharp increase of their car theft in Seattle and other regions.
The city said from 2021 to 2022, thefts of Hyundai and Kia cars increased by 503 per cent and 363 per cent, respectively, reports Yonhap news agency.
Hyundai and Kia expressed regret over the legal action in Seattle while apologising for the inconvenience to affected customers.
"In response to increasing thefts targeting our vehicles without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices in the United States, Hyundai Motor America has made engine immobilisers standard on all vehicles produced as of November 2021," Hyundai said in a statement.
In addition, the company has taken a series of actions to deter thefts of affected vehicles, including an upcoming software update set to be available from next month and provided at no cost to customers, it said.
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Kia said it has been developing and testing enhanced security software for vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer and has started notifying owners of certain models of the availability of this software upgrade at no cost to customers.
Kia plans to make software upgrades available for most affected vehicles by mid-2023.
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