CLEVELAND (WJW) – A new effort to crack down on stolen Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts could result in Cleveland suing both manufacturers.

“When you have a problem with your device to the point where 12- and 13-year-olds are able to effortlessly steal cars, you have to confront the problem in your design,” said Ward 13 Cleveland City Councilman Kris Harsh.

Harsh sponsored an emergency resolution that was introduced at Monday’s city council meeting, and it is now heading to committee.

The proposed resolution calls on the Bibb administration to file suit against both companies due to the city spending additional resources to respond to and investigate thefts, at an increased expense to taxpayers.

The resolution states the number of insured Kia and Hyundai vehicles stolen in Cuyahoga County increased more than 233 percent from October to December of last year. More than 60% of the vehicles stolen in the county in November and December of 2022 were Kias and Hyundais. In Cleveland, 459 auto thefts of the two makes were reported in December.

“Cleveland Police are spending untold man hours trying to track down all these cars,” said Harsh. “…of course, the damage done to the vehicles in the act of theft itself is costing Clevelanders a lot of money to the point where some insurance agencies aren’t even insuring these cars anymore.”

Harsh said the Bibb administration should follow the lead of other cities, including Columbus, and file suit against both car manufacturers to alleviate damages sustained investigating the crimes.

According to the resolution, both companies failed to equip vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2021 with industry-standard security features that could have prevented the crimes.

“Whenever a manufacturer defect causes this much hardship for anybody there ought to be a recall and if they don’t want to do that, we should compel them to do the right thing,” said Harsh. “If we have to go through the courts to get the money, we need to help residents of this city fix their cars that’s what we we’re going to do.”

 “We take this issue very seriously and are actively exploring all options,” Bibb’s office told FOX 8.

Both Kia and Hyundai are rolling out software updates to help prevent auto thefts. The updates are free for vehicles missing an anti-theft device.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 3.8 million Hyundais and 4.5 million Kias are eligible for the software update.