INDIANAPOLIS — Leaders in Indianapolis announced they are joining a national lawsuit against automakers Kia and Hyundai and are seeking reimbursement for car thefts.

Mayor Joe Hogsett, the Indianapolis City-County Council and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department announced the city’s participation in the national lawsuit Monday evening, citing a recent spike in car thefts of certain Kia and Hyundai models.

The city is seeking reimbursement for public safety costs associated with these thefts. The release said Kia and Hyundai models are not equipped with anti-theft safeguards, making it easier to access the vehicles during attempted thefts.

Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay around $200 million to settle a class-action lawsuit back in May. That lawsuit dealt with the security concerns of each manufacturing company.

Security concerns first started to emerge after a TikTok challenge went viral which showcased security weak points in the vehicles.

Several other cities are also suing the car manufacturers. This list includes Cleveland, San Diego, Milwaukee, Seattle, Columbus, New York City, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

“The agreement, which could be valued at approximately $200 million depending on how many customers elect to participate, will provide cash compensation for customers who incurred theft-related vehicle losses or damage not covered by insurance, in addition to reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums, and other theft-related losses,” said a Hyundai release.

18 state attorney generals also sent a letter to the Department of Transportation in April, sharing concerns about the rise in thefts. The letter urged the Biden administration to recall Hyundai and Kia car models, also citing the lack of anti-theft controls.

Car thefts continued to increase despite Hyundai and Kia rolling out some updated security features.

“Lawsuits filed by municipalities against Kia are without merit. Like all Kia vehicles, the specific models at issue, in this case, are subject to and comply fully with the requirements outlined in applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including FMVSS 114 that governs theft protection measures,” read a portion of Kia’s statement.

“Kia has been and continues to be willing to work cooperatively with law enforcement agencies in the City of Indianapolis to combat car theft and the role social media has played in encouraging it, and we remain committed to supporting our customers and to vehicle security.”

Hyundai also released the following statement:

“Hyundai is committed to the comprehensive actions we are undertaking to assist customers and communities affected by the persistent theft of certain vehicles not equipped with push-button ignitions and engine immobilizers,” read a portion of Hyundai’s statement. “Our dealers across the country are maximizing the number of anti-theft software installations that can be performed on a daily basis, contributing to steadily increasing completion rates, which we report to NHTSA weekly. 

Hyundai will soon be piloting a mobile service center to further scale and speed the installation of the software upgrade.  We remain committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of our products, all of which are fully compliant with federal anti-theft requirements.”

“Indianapolis has seen year-to-date declines in most forms of crime this year, but we have seen auto thefts buck that trend with a 24% increase, due almost exclusively to Kia and Hyundai models,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said Wednesday in a statement. “Indy joins this lawsuit to hold these manufacturers responsible for the negligence that has adversely impacted vehicle owners, our police, and our larger community.”