Frey, Carter, Ellison call for Kia and Hyundai safety recall after rise in thefts

March 2, 2023 – Minnesota officials are calling for a Kia and Hyundai safety recall after a spike in thefts in the Twin Cities.

The cars are particularly vulnerable because they don’t have anti-theft technology. Social media trends show thieves how to easily get into and steal the cars.

In 2022, the Twin Cities saw 3,293 reported thefts of Kias and Hyundais; a 836% increase in Minneapolis and 611% increase in St. Paul over the past year.

WCCO didn’t have to look far to find a victim, Mackenzie Lofren, a producer for CBS News Minnesota, had her new Hyundai Elantra broken into just two weeks after she got it.

“I put myself in those shoes and as a teenager, I couldn’t imagine myself feeling so emboldened that this was so easy, I could do it without fail,” Lofgren said.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says the crime is “preventable” and “has a clear solution.” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said the cars are an “urgent public safety risk that must be immediately addressed.”

“I don’t need them to listen to me. Listen to the people having this experience again and again. Look at the data. See what it says. They have an obligation to keep people safe. I have an obligation to people in this city,” said Frey.

Hyundai and Kia have offered free software upgrades to car owners, but the mayors, along with Attorney General Keith Ellison, sent a letter to the CEOs of Kia and Hyundai asking them to recall all cars that lack the anti-theft devices and equip them with safety upgrades.

In Minneapolis, Kias and Hyundai vehicle thefts have been connected to other types of crime, including five homicides, 13 shootings, 36 robberies, and 265 motor vehicle accidents. In December, a 14-year-old boy died after getting hit by a driver in a stolen Kia.

“The harm caused by these companies goes far beyond car theft and has a negative impact on everyone’s safety,” said Ellison. “We will continue using the power of the Attorney Generals Office to address this problem and use all the tools of the law to help keep Minnesotans safe.”

By Jonah Kaplan, CBS Minnesota
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