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Louisville Metro files federal lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia

This photo shows Mayor Craig Greenberg speaking at a lectern.
Giselle Rhoden
Mayor Craig Greenberg made the announcement Thursday with Attorney Mike O'Connell and Louisville Metro Police Department Lieutenant Matt Keller.

Louisville Metro Government has filed a lawsuit against car manufacturers Hyundai and Kia for creating “a public safety nuisance.” Cars made by the companies have been stolen at high rates after social media accounts demonstrated how to easily steal them. 

Mayor Craig Greenberg announced the lawsuit, which is in partnership with the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, at a press conference Thursday. In its complaint, the city alleges that Hyundai and Kia are responsible for auto thefts in the city due to its vehicles' lack of anti-theft technology such as engine immobilizers.

“Hyundai and Kia have cut corners, shifting part of the cost of their business onto Louisville and its citizens,” Greenberg said in a written statement, “This is contributing to our city’s public safety issues and, simply put, it is unacceptable.”

Since January, the mayor’s office reported a 732% increase in Hyundai vehicle thefts and a 697% increase in Kia vehicle thefts. Greenberg said the increase in auto thefts are often related to other crimes like reckless driving and vehicular homicide.

Greenberg said the increased thefts use an outsized amount of law enforcement and emergency service resources.

“Our resources are already short, at a time when we need our first responders focused on reducing violent crime in our city and preventing crime from happening in the first place,” Greenberg said Thursday.

The lawsuit will seek monetary compensation from both companies for “creating a public safety nuisance.”

Louisville Metro joins several other cities suing Hyundai and Kia concerning similar litigations.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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