WASHINGTON (AP) — Hyundai Motor America and Kia America will resolve class-action lawsuit prompted by a surge in vehicle thefts with a settlement agreement that could be valued at $200 million, the automakers announced Friday.
The settlement covers about 9 million 2011-2022 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the U.S. today, according to the companies. The cars are not equipped with push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices — which has allowed them to be stolen easily by using just a screwdriver and a USB cord, creating a recent auto-theft outbreak across the country.
The settlement will provide cash compensation to customers who incurred theft-related losses or damage that was not covered by insurance — as well as reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums and other losses, Kia and Hyundai said.
A software upgrade will also be provided to eligible owners as part of the settlement. For customers with vehicles that cannot accommodate the software upgrade, the agreement will provide a up to $300 reimbursement for anti-theft devices.
The total settlement amount will depend on how many customers choose to participate.
The wave of Hyundai and Kia thefts began in 2021 and spread nationally, with a peak last summer, as a result of instructional videos posted on TikTok and other social media sites. Some police departments report continued rampant thefts despite the automakers’ unveiling of anti-theft software nearly three months ago.