Hyundai Motor America and Kia America announced Friday that they had reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought about by an increase in vehicle thefts.
The companies stated that the settlement could be worth $200 million, and it covers approximately 9 million Hyundai and Kia models from 2011-2022 in the U.S.
These cars do not have anti-theft immobilizers or push-button ignitions. This has made it easy for thieves to steal cars using a screwdriver, a USB cable, and other tools.
Kia and Hyundai announced that the settlement would provide customers with cash compensation for theft-related losses and damage not covered by their insurance, as well as reimbursement of insurance deductibles, higher insurance premiums, and other losses.
Owners who qualify will receive a software upgrade. Customers with vehicles that are not compatible with the software upgrade will receive a refund of up to 300 dollars for anti-theft equipment.
The companies also said that Kia and Hyundai had given away tens and thousands of steering wheel locks to impacted customers through local law enforcement agencies and direct shipping.
The amount of the settlement will be determined by how many customers take part.
In a statement, attorney Elizabeth A. Fegan, of Fegan Scott, a law firm representing the plaintiffs said that “Hyundai, Kia, and other car manufacturers failed to provide cars with basic anti-theft devices, and this was not a victimless action.” “We are happy with the settlement and its ability to prevent thieves as well as compensate those who have been victims of thefts.”
The court is expected to review the proposed settlement for preliminary approval by July.
In 2021, the wave of Hyundai thefts and Kia thefts started and spread across the country. A spike in thefts occurred last summer due to instructional videos that were posted on TikTok, and other social media websites. Some police departments have reported that thefts continue despite automakers releasing anti-theft software almost three months ago.
Jason Erb and John Yoon both stressed the commitment of their companies to safety.
Erb stated that “We appreciate the opportunity to offer additional support to our owners, who have been affected by criminal activity which is increasing and persisting against our vehicles.”