Chicago Sues Automakers for Car Theft Spike

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
August 25, 2023

Chicago's Democratic leaders on Thursday sued Kia and Hyundai because thieves can break into the companies' vehicles, the latest instance of Democrats blaming carmakers for spikes in car thefts.

The city alleges that Kia and Hyundai failed to "install standard technology they knew was effective at deterring thieves," the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Online videos have shown thieves using USB plugs to start the cars, which the city says the carmakers could have "easily prevented."

Chicago officials, including far-left mayor Brandon Johnson (D.), didn't note that crime has skyrocketed since Johnson took office in May. Overall crime increased 38 percent from May to June alone, the Center Square reported, with car thefts shooting up 153 percent in May compared with a year earlier. Voters this year elected Johnson, who has called defunding the police "a real political goal," on a soft-on-crime platform.

The city is facing near-constant violence under Johnson, with dozens of people injured or killed during violent weekends throughout the summer. One Chicago Democrat responded to the bloodshed by asking gang members to limit their shootings and murders to nighttime.

Illinois's top court, meanwhile, this month upheld a Democratic bill to eliminate cash bail for all crimes.

Johnson is not the only Democrat to blame Kia and Hyundai for the spike in car thefts. California attorney general Rob Bonta in March also blamed the carmakers for not installing the anti-theft technology, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Bonta did not mention that homicides, property crime, and violent crime all went up during his first year in office.

New York City has also sued the carmakers for enabling a "spiraling epidemic" of car thefts, CNBC reported.

Kia spokesman James Bell said the lawsuits are "without merit," telling the Sun-Times that government agencies cleared the vehicles in question. Hyundai spokesman Ira Gabriel pointed to the company's "efforts to update anti-theft software."