Easy-to-Steal Cars Lawsuit Settled for $200M

Hyundai, Kia models lacked anti-theft feature
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2023 8:25 AM CDT
Hyundai, Kia Reach Deal in Lawsuit Over Easy-to-Steal Cars
A Hyundai sedan sits in the parking lot of East Bay Tow Inc. in Berkeley, California.   (AP Photo/Terry Chea)

Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay around $200 million to settle a lawsuit over their easy-to-steal cars. An estimated 9 million Hyundais and Kias in model years between 2011 and 2022 lacked immobilizers, a basic anti-theft measure that prevents an engine from starting unless the right key is inserted, Quartz reports. Thefts of the vehicles soared after the spread of TikTok videos showing how to steal Hyundais and Kias with a screwdriver and a USB cord. The settlement includes $145 million to cover losses for people who had their cars stolen, reports Reuters.

The companies said they would compensate those "who incurred theft-related vehicle losses or damage in addition to reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums," and other theft-related losses. The companies issued a software fix earlier this year for the affected vehicles. A full list of the models covered can be seen here. The settlement also includes up to $300 for drivers who can't get the software fix to buy anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks. CNN notes that while Hyundai and Kia operate as separate companies in the US, Hyundai has a large stake in Kia and their vehicles share some features.

Regulators say the surge in Hyundai and Kia thefts led to at least 14 crashes and eight deaths. "We believe this settlement offers comprehensive, welcome relief for the class that will serve as a lesson to automakers to not overlook such integral, basic safety features," Roland Tellis of the law firm Baron & Budd said in a statement, per CNN. (More Hyundai stories.)

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