In a major development, Kia and Hyundai have reached a settlement agreement worth approximately $200 million in response to a class-action lawsuit filed against them. The lawsuit alleged that a significant number of vehicles produced by the Korean automakers were highly susceptible to theft.
The settlement encompasses around 9 million owners of Hyundai or Kia vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2022, equipped with a traditional "insert-and-turn" steel key ignition system.
As part of the agreement, the owners will receive compensation totaling up to $145 million to cover their out-of-pocket losses resulting from vehicle theft. The funds will be distributed among individuals who have had their vehicles stolen. Affected owners will be eligible for reimbursement up to $6,125 for the complete loss of their vehicles. Additionally, they can claim up to $3,375 for damages to their vehicles and personal property, as well as insurance-related expenses.
The alarming rise in car thefts has been linked to eight deaths, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Several cities, including Seattle, St. Louis, Mo., Columbus, Ohio, and Baltimore, filed lawsuits against Kia and Hyundai, citing the increase in theft incidents. Moreover, last month, attorneys general from 17 states and the District of Columbia appealed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a mandatory recall for the affected vehicles.
As part of the settlement, both Kia and Hyundai have committed to automatically installing anti-theft software in their vehicles during any dealership service appointment.