Hyundai and Kia have agreed to a settlement reportedly worth more than $200 million to end sprawling litigation over the automakers’ failure to equip certain models with an engine immobilizer, a basic security measure that drivers nationwide alleged would have prevented many vehicles from being stolen.
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On May 18, 2023, the parties involved submitted to United States District Judge James V. Selna a five-page joint statement informing the court that they had “reached a settlement-in-principle of the consumer class action claims.” The parties added that the proposed settlement followed “months of negotiations,” including multiple mediation sessions, and that they are “in the process of documenting the agreement” to end the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
In a press release distributed the same day, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said the settlement, which still needs to be officially submitted to the court for preliminary approval, has been “designed to address a multitude of situations faced by owners of affected vehicles,” totaling around nine million Hyundai and Kia models.
The proposed settlement reportedly provides up to $145 million to cover out-of-pocket losses, software upgrades to address impacted vehicles’ lack of an engine immobilizer, and payments of up to $300 in lieu of software upgrades for certain drivers.
The litigation was sparked by a viral TikTok “challenge” wherein posters dubbed the “Kia Boys” demonstrated how easy it was to steal certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles using nothing more than a USB charging cord or similar metal object.
“Our goal in finalizing this settlement was to leave no one in the dark,” plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said. “The owners of these cars have experienced enough upset, and we worked to achieve a settlement that covers many types of losses – from those who were lucky enough to have never had their theft-prone car stolen, to those whose stolen cars were totaled completely due to Hyundai and Kia’s negligence.”
Read on to learn more about what we know about the reported settlement, including who may be covered, what compensation may become available, and more.
Who’s covered by the settlement?
Though the full details of the deal are not yet set in stone (more on why this is below), the settlement, when formalized and approved by the court, will reportedly cover millions of consumers who have a 2011-2022 model year Hyundai or Kia with a traditional “insert-and-turn” steel key ignition system.
What can I get from the settlement?
According to a press release from Hagens Berman, the settlement will provide:
Up to $145 million for out-of-pocket losses, with “tiers of payments” of up to $6,125 for total-loss vehicles, up to $3,375 for vehicle and personal property damage, and compensation for “insurance-related expenses” and other costs, including for rental cars, taxi rides, ride-shares or public transit rides.
Per the release, the settlement will also reimburse eligible Hyundai and Kia drivers for towing costs and other fees and taxes related to replacement vehicles if their car was lost or stolen. Additionally, the deal will include payments for consumers whose vehicles “suffered crashes or were stolen and never recovered” and for “speeding tickets, red light tickets or other penalties or fines” stemming from a stolen vehicle. Lastly, settlement money will be available to class members who lost income or incurred childcare expenses due to time spent installing a software upgrade.
Software upgrades, which will address covered vehicles’ lack of an engine immobilizer so as to “prevent the vehicles from starting without the key being present.”
Vehicles eligible for a software upgrade include:
2018-2022 Hyundai Accent, 2011-2022 Hyundai Elantra, 2013-2020 Hyundai Elantra GT, 2018-2022 Hyundai Kona, 2013-2022 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2013-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL, 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata, 2011-2022 Hyundai Tucson, 2012-2017 and 2019-2021 Hyundai Veloster, 2020-2021 Hyundai Venue, 2013-2014 Genesis Coupe; 2020-2021 Hyundai Palisade; 2011-2022 Kia Sportage; 2011-2022 Kia Sorento; 2021-2022 Kia K5; 2011-2021 Kia Sedona; 2014-2021 Kia Forte; 2012-2021 Kia Rio; 2021-2022 Kia Seltos; 2011-2020 Kia Optima; and 2020-2022 Kia Soul.
Lastly, the settlement offers payments of up to $300 in lieu of software upgrades to those whose cars are unable to receive a software upgrade. The press release shares that the payment will cover the installation of a “glass breakage alarm or anti-theft system, purchase of a steering wheel lock, or other aftermarket modifications” made to prevent or deter theft.
Is this settlement official?
Not just yet. While the court has been told that a settlement is in place and the plaintiffs’ attorneys have announced the details in a press release, the deal, crucially, has yet to be submitted to the court for preliminary approval. Preliminary approval is a key hurdle all class action settlements must clear before consumers can receive compensation. (Read more about what preliminary approval means here.)
The parties told the court that they intend to properly submit the settlement to the court for preliminary approval by July 10, 2023. ClassAction.org will update this page with any new developments, so be sure to check back often.
Is there an official settlement website?
There will be, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said. When launched, the official settlement website will be loaded with pertinent information for Hyundai and Kia drivers.
ClassAction.org will update this page when an official Hyundai and Kia theft settlement website goes live.
How do I get my money?
As stated above, the settlement must first be submitted to and approved by the court. This document should outline how consumers can submit claims, any notice procedures and more. When that happens, we should have more information on the claims process, so sit tight, check back to our site for updates and sign up for our newsletter here.