South Korean car manufacturers, Kia and Hyundai, have settled a class action lawsuit for around $200 million that will affect about nine million car owners.
The lawsuit accused the companies of making cars that are vulnerable to theft, which was showcased on social media apps (such as TikTok’s Kia theft challenge) showing how easily these car brands could be stolen.
The lawsuit alleged that the carmakers didn’t install immobilizers on many 2011 through 2022 models, which is a common anti-theft device that “prevents most vehicles from being started unless a code is transmitted from the vehicle’s smart key,” according to a press release.
Per the Highway Loss Data Institute, some Hyundai and Kia models built between 2015 and 2019 are almost twice as likely to be stolen.
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In a statement on Thursday, Kia and Hyundai said there will also be reimbursement for owners’ insurance deductibles and increased insurance premiums after the theft. Hyundai is Kia Motors’ parent company, but they operate independently, per the New York Times.
“We appreciate the opportunity to provide additional support for our owners who have been impacted by increasing and persistent criminal activity targeting our vehicles,” Jason Erb, chief legal officer of Hyundai Motor North America, said in a statement. “Customer security remains a top priority, and we’re committed to continuing software upgrade installations and steering wheel lock distribution to help prevent thefts.”
Many popular models, such as the Hyundai I20 (2009–2021) and the Kia Soul (2013–2021) are on the list. Find out if your car is part of the settlement, and how to claim money, here.
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