KIA and Hyundai Settle Class Action Lawsuit for Spike in Car Thefts

KIA and Hyundai Settle Class Action Lawsuit for Spike in Car Thefts



Thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles have soared in recent years, with some cities reporting that more than half of all auto thefts involve these brands. The rise in thefts has been attributed to a number of factors, including the use of easily accessible tools to start the cars and the popularity of TikTok videos that show how to steal them.

KIA and Hyundai Settle Class Action Lawsuit for Spike in Car Thefts

Thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles have also been linked to a rise in “smash and grab” robberies in recent years. Thieves use the stolen cars to get to high-traffic areas, such as shopping malls and jewelry stores. Once they arrive, they smash the windows of businesses and steal valuables.

These robberies often happen within a short period of time, and they can cause a lot of damage. When the criminals are done, they switch vehicles and abandon the car used for the robbery.

n response to the thefts, Kia and Hyundai eventually issued software updates to some of their vehicles in 2023, but owners said these updates have not been effective.

KIA and Hyundai Settle Major Lawsuit

As a result, a class action lawsuit was filed against the automakers in June 2021, alleging that they knew about the security vulnerabilities in their vehicles but failed to take adequate steps to address them. And since that time, thefts of the vehicle have only gone up.

By spring of 2023, KIA and Hyundai agreed to settle the lawsuit and provide a total payout of $145 million for all owners of cars affected by theft, damage, or loss.

The lawsuit was originally filed in Milwaukee two years ago, alleging that Kia and Hyundai’s negligence has caused owners to suffer financial losses, including the cost of replacing stolen vehicles, as well as emotional distress. The lawsuit sought damages for all owners of Kia and Hyundai vehicles made from 2011 – 2021 that have been stolen.

The rise in Kia and Hyundai thefts has become major concern for both owners and law enforcement officials. In some cities, the thefts have become so common that police departments have issued warnings to residents about the dangers of leaving their vehicles unattended.

Kia and Hyundai car make and models from 2011 to 2022 affected

Car Make and ModelYear
Kia Forte2011-2022
Kia Optima2011-2022
Kia Sorento2011-2022
Kia Sportage2011-2022
Hyundai Elantra2015-2022
Hyundai Sonata2015-2022
Hyundai Santa Fe2015-2022
Hyundai Tucson2015-2022

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and other Kia and Hyundai models from 2011 to 2022 may also be vulnerable to the Kia Challenge. If you own a Kia or Hyundai model from this time period, it is important to take steps to protect your car from theft, such as installing a security system or using a steering wheel lock.

But if you start your car with a physical key and not a keyless FOB, then there’s a high probability that your car qualifies for the software update and/or potentially compensation from the settlement.

KIA and Hyundai Theft Settlement Details and Provisions

In addition to the $200 Million total settlement, the ruling also includes provisions requiring Kia and Hyundai to take steps to improve the security of their vehicles.

These steps include:

  • Installing a kill switch in all new vehicles.
  • Requiring all new vehicles to have a keyless entry system that requires a physical key to start the car.
  • Improving the security of the software in their vehicles.

The settlement is a victory for Kia and Hyundai owners who were affected by the thefts. It is also a reminder that automakers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their vehicles.

KIA and Hyundai Theft Prevention

If you own a Kia or Hyundai vehicle, there are a number of steps you can take to protect it from theft. These include:

  • Always lock your car, even when you are only running a quick errand.
  • Do not leave your keys in the ignition.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Consider installing a security system in your car.

By taking these steps, you can help to deter thieves and protect your vehicle from theft.

Here are some additional details about the class action lawsuit:

  • The lawsuit was led in court by Hagens Berman and filed by Barton Cerjak S.C. originally in June 2021
  • The lawsuit seeks damages owners of certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles made from 2011 – 2021 that have been stolen.
  • $145 Million will be made available for customers whose cars have been stolen, as well as being reimbursed for any increases in insurance premiums for having to file a claim.

The average payout for a stolen vehicle is around $7,000. Considering it’s that small, it’s a reminder of just how much extra money a car buyer is putting up to get access to a private auto, since many car loans for those vehicles could run a total of $25,000 after all associated costs and financing.

Additional Thoughts About the KIA and Hyundai Lawsuit

It’s great that car owners can get some type of relief or compensation. No one wants to have their ability to get to work taken from them, and in many cities riding the bus or subway has become too unsafe and unreliable.

It’s sad that it takes a million dollar class action lawsuit to get those funds. No mention anywhere in these news stories is the context of where the majority of these thefts occur geographically, and nowhere do you hear a District Attorney in a large American city demand the community stop acting in ways that destroy the community.

You can eliminate opportunities for theft with technology, the willful failure to do so being the underlying basis of the lawsuit. But did KIA and Hyundai force anyone to steal a car and then ram it through the front of a jewelry shop?

How are we going to get rid of the element that’s responsible for that?