South Korean automaker Kia can use some good news after New York City on June 6 filed a lawsuit against the company and its affiliate Hyundai (HYMTF) in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that the companies did not install immobilizer technology in their cars that block vehicles from starting without a key to prevent vehicle thefts.
Several other US cities have filed such lawsuits as well, such as Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Diego and Seattle. Hyundai said it has included the device on its cars since November 2021 and its vehicles are now fully compliant with federal anti-theft requirements. The company said it is consulting with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to assist its customers. Kia stated that the lawsuits are without merit, according to the Associated Press.
The two companies had already in May reportedly settled a class-action lawsuit over vehicle thefts covering 9 million vehicles for model years 2011-2022 for $200 million.
Kia Had More Bad News With Recall
Kia had other bad news earlier this year as it recalled almost 189,000 of its K5 internal combustion engine vehicles sold between 2021 and 2023 due to improperly installed airbags that may not properly deploy in a crash, according to a March filing with the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Pivoting from the lawsuits and recalls, Kia and Hyundai have been busy competing with Tesla to produce and deliver EVs to market.
Kia’s affiliate Hyundai rolled its first EV ever off a U.S. assembly line in February, as it began making its Genesis GV70 all-electric SUV at its plant in Montgomery, Ala. The GV 70 was the luxury brand’s first model constructed outside South Korea.
Hyundai also produces the Ioniq 5 and the Ioniq 6. The Ioniq 6 is stiff competition for Tesla and other EV sedan makers, as its manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $41,600, according to its website.
Hyundai sold 175,000 all-electric vehicles in 2022, a 56% increase year-over-year, including 24,000 in December.
Kia manufactures the Niro EV crossover with a 253-mile range on a charge and a $39,550 manufacturer’s suggested retail price. It also makes the EV6 crossover with a 310-mile range and $42,600 MSRP, and just launched its EV9 three-row electric SUV that is expected to be sold in the US later this year. Worldwide, Kia sold over 132,000 EVs in 2022.
Kia Has Gone Into Expansion Mode
Kia has gone into expansion mode to offer a complete range of electric vehicles, the company’s Europe marketing head David Hilbert told Autocar. The company expects to introduce 15 new electric models globally by the end of 2027. The company already revealed a new EV5 SUV that will be first marketed in China.
The electric vehicle maker said it plans to launch a small, compact crossover, with a possible EV3 name, to compete against the Jeep Avenger and Peugeot e-2008. The automaker also plans to roll out an entry level EV that could be known as the EV1 and would become a direct competitor to Volkswagen’s ID 2.