— A Hyundai and Kia lawsuit settlement has been reached regarding about 9 million vehicles after teenage criminals began breaking into, damaging and stealing the vehicles that were not equipped with anti-theft engine immobilizers.
Engine immobilizers are not required in the U.S., and the Hyundai and Kia vehicles weren't targets of thieves until teens began posting videos online which showed how to break into and steal the vehicles.
By breaking into a vehicle and damaging the steering column, a thief can use a USB cable to start and steal the Hyundai or Kia, something which came to be known as the Kia Challenge.
Many of the teenage criminals were caught and arrested, only to be immediately released to steal more vehicles.
The Hyundai and Kia thefts have caused injuries and deaths, with some parents of deceased teens suing Hyundai and Kia because their children were killed in stolen vehicles.
The teens posted videos online how to damage and steal the Hyundai and Kia vehicles, and then challenged other teens to do the same and post videos of their crimes.
Instead of blaming the criminals in their cities, multiple cities sued Hyundai and Kia over the thefts. In addition, about 20 attorneys general blamed the automakers for the thefts, as did dozens of insurance companies that sued. (See below)
Because insurance companies refused to insure the vehicles, Hyundai and Kia began offering insurance options through AAA for those who had difficulty getting and keeping coverage.
Class action lawyers began filing lawsuits which blamed Hyundai and Kia for the thefts, and most of the lawsuits were consolidated into one huge case titled: IN RE: Kia Hyundai Vehicle Theft Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.
As all this was taking place, Hyundai and Kia provided free software updates and tens of thousands of free steering wheel locks to customers to help prevent criminals from breaking into and stealing the vehicles.
The free anti-theft software upgrade modifies certain control modules on Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with standard turn-key ignition systems. This includes an "ignition kill" feature so the vehicles cannot be started by the methods used in the videos.
All Hyundai and Kia vehicles built since November 2021 are already equipped with engine immobilizers as standard equipment.
This doesn't mean a thief cannot steal a Hyundai or Kia vehicle, but they allegedly won't be able to use the methods mentioned in the online videos.
Hyundai and Kia Theft Lawsuit Settlement
Hyundai and Kia insist all 9 million of the following vehicles met and currently meet all federal anti-theft requirements. The automakers decided to settle to save on the expense and time of prolonged litigation.
Kia Vehicles Included in the Theft Lawsuit Settlement
- 2011-2021 Kia Forte
- 2021-2022 Kia K5
- 2011-2020 Kia Optima
- 2011-2021 Kia Rio
- 2011-2021 Kia Sedona
- 2021-2022 Kia Seltos
- 2010-2022 Kia Soul
- 2011-2022 Kia Sorento
- 2011-2022 Kia Sportage
Hyundai Vehicles Included in the Theft Lawsuit Settlement
- 2011-2022 Hyundai Accent
- 2011-2022 Hyundai Elantra
- 2013-2017 Hyundai Elantra GT
- 2013-2014 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
- 2011-2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring
- 2011-2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
- 2018-2022 Hyundai Kona
- 2020-2021 Hyundai Palisade
- 2011-2012, 2019-2022 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2013-2018, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe; Santa Fe XL
- 2013-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
- 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata
- 2011-2022 Hyundai Tucson
- 2012-2017, 2019-2021 Hyundai Veloster
- 2020-2021 Hyundai Venue
- 2011-2012 Hyundai Veracruz
Terms of the proposed theft class action lawsuit settlement haven't been released but are expected to be presented to the court in July.
However, the automakers say they have agreed to "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."
The free software upgrades which already existed may not be available on certain vehicles. A customer who owns a vehicle not able to receive the free software upgrade will be provided reimbursement up to $300 for the purchase of various anti-theft devices.
Attorneys representing Hyundai and Kia customers are asking for more than $36 million in fees.
The case is: IN RE: Kia Hyundai Vehicle Theft Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.
The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Baron & Budd P.C., Fegan Scott LLC, and Humphrey, Farringon & McClain P.C.
Hyundai and Kia Theft Lawsuits Filed by These Insurance Companies
- AMCO Insurance Company
- Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Company
- America First Insurance Company
- American Economy Insurance Company
- American Family Insurance Company
- American Family Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.
- American Standard Insurance Company of Ohio
- American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin
- American States Insurance Company
- American States Preferred Insurance Company
- Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.
- Colonial County Mutual Insurance Company
- Consolidated Insurance Company
- Depositors Insurance Company
- Employers Insurance Company of Wausau
- Erie Insurance Company
- Erie Insurance Company of New York
- Erie Insurance Exchange
- Erie Insurance Property and Casualty Company
- First National Insurance Company of America
- Flagship City Insurance Company
- General Casualty Company of Wisconsin
- General Casualty Insurance Company
- General Insurance Company of America
- Harleysville Insurance Company
- Harleysville Insurance Company of New Jersey
- Harleysville Insurance Company of New York
- LM General Insurance Company
- LM Insurance Corporation
- Liberty County Mutual Insurance Company
- Liberty Insurance Corporation
- Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual Mid-Atlantic Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual Personal Insurance Company
- Liberty Personal Insurance Company
- Main Street America Protection Insurance Company
- Milbank Insurance Company
- Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company
- NGM Insurance Company
- Nationwide Affinity Insurance Company of America
- Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company
- Nationwide General Insurance Company
- Nationwide Insurance Company of America
- Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company
- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
- Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Company
- New Jersey Indemnity Insurance Company
- New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
- Old Dominion Insurance Company
- Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company
- Permanent General Assurance Corporation
- Safeco Insurance Company America
- Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois
- Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana
- Safeco Insurance Company of Oregon
- Safeco National Insurance Company
- Southern Pilot Insurance Company
- State Auto Property and Casualty Insurance Company
- State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company
- The First Liberty Insurance Corporation
- The General Automobile Insurance Company, Inc.
- The Netherlands Insurance Company
- Titan Insurance Company
- Unigard Insurance Company
- Victoria Fire and Casualty Company
- Victoria Select Insurance Company
- Wausau Underwriters Insurance Company
Other Theft Lawsuits Filed Against Hyundai and Kia
- Heather Jones v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Joanna Pue et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Erica Loburgio et al v. KIA America, Inc. et al
- Charles W. Simmons et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Rita Day v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Brian Bendorf et al v. KIA America et al
- Cobi Bissell v. Hyundai Motor America Corporation et al
- Stacie Moon v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Jo Taylor Slovak et al v. KIA America Inc. et al
- Stefanie Marvin v. Kia America Inc et al
- Miriam Fruhling et al v. Kia Motors America, Inc. et al
- Ann Brady et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Jon Bodie et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Amber Hall v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Lisa Hilliard et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Rivera v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- LaShaun Johnson v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Patricia Browning et al v. Kia America Incorporated et al
- Broadway v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Jeff Spores v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Pamela Givens v. KIA America, Inc.
- Brandye Burnett v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Steve Zanmiller v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Robert Ballis et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Laura Parker v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Philos Jeong v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Mary Horne v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Anastasia Pearson et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Walker v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Jennifer Fisher v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Casey DeKam et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Adam Murphy v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Juliette Neves v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Gregory Alston et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Brenda Baker v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Nadia Stanich v. Kia America, Inc.
- Tracy Martinez v. Kia America, Inc.
- Beneman v. Kia America, Inc. et al
- Latoya C. Jones v. Kia America, Inc.
- John Allen v. Kia America, Inc.