Mayors Carter and Frey, Attorney General Ellison Press for Kia and Hyundai Safety Recall
In a letter to CEOs, policymakers underscore the need to recall and outfit vehicles with industry-standard anti-theft technology to improve public safety
SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, Mayor Carter, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison pressed the North American CEOs of Kia and Hyundai to immediately recall and outfit all Kia and Hyundai vehicles missing industry-standard anti-theft technology to stem the rapidly rising tide of vehicle thefts in the Twin Cities.
The joint letter from the mayors and attorney general to the Kia and Hyundai CEOs highlights a drastic increase in Kia and Hyundai auto thefts in the Twin Cities over the past year, including an 836% increase in Minneapolis and a 611% increase in Saint Paul. Many of these thefts have been connected to other violent crimes.
The car manufacturers recently made software upgrades available for some vehicles. While this is a step in the right direction, a more robust and timely improvement plan is essential. The mayors and attorney general are pressing both companies to take immediate action to recall all Kia and Hyundai vehicles missing engine immobilizers—industry-standard anti-theft technology—and to equip all new vehicles with the same safety updates.
“The number of crimes committed in connection to stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles are staggering - and we’ve lost lives in our community as a result,” said Mayor Carter. “This is an urgent public safety risk that must be immediately addressed.”
“This crime is preventable and has a clear solution,” said Mayor Frey. “The type of car you have should not make you an automatic target of heinous violence and random crimes. There is an onus on these car companies to do the bare minimum here, which is including the industry-standard anti-theft software. Thank you to Mayor Carter and Attorney General Ellison for their collaboration on this—we all want to keep residents throughout the Twin Cities safe.”
“As the chief legal officer of the State of Minnesota, this issue has my full attention,” said Attorney General Ellison. “The harm caused by these companies goes far beyond car theft and has had a negative impact on everyone's safety. We will continue using the power of the Attorney General's Office to address this problem and use all the tools of the law to help keep Minnesotans safe.”
National reports show that Kia and Hyundai vehicles are particularly vulnerable to theft due to their lack of engine immobilizers—basic, industry-standard anti-theft technology—and push-to-start key systems. There are also several social media challenges that show the ease of hacking into these cars, encouraging people—especially young people—to partake in the crime.
The joint letter from Mayor Frey, Mayor Carter, and Attorney General Ellison is attached.
Saint Paul-specific statistics
In 2022 alone, the City of Saint Paul had 953 reported thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles, a 611% increase from the same time in 2021. More than 66 Kia and Hyundai vehicle owners had their cars stolen more than once, and six owners had their vehicles stolen three times. Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts made up 30% of all vehicle thefts in Saint Paul in 2022.
“Our community members depend on their vehicles to provide for their families. Whether that’s going to work, purchasing groceries, or taking their children various places. Losing their vehicle in a matter of minutes could set them back months, even years,” said Saint Paul Police Chief Axel Henry. “Not only does it impact them and their everyday lives, but it also hinders their sense of security. Many times, these stolen vehicles are being used in violent crimes around our city, against our own community members. It’s important to us to stop these crimes from occurring. They don’t just directly impact the owners, they directly impact our entire community.”