According to lawyers for the owners and the automakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. have settled a customer class action lawsuit for $200 million over the pervasive automobile thefts of the Korean automakers’ vehicles.
The Korean manufacturers announced in February that they would provide software updates to 8.3 million American cars without anti-theft immobilisers to reduce the number of car thefts, which have been on the rise due to a technique made famous on TikTok and other social media platforms.
According to attorneys for the owners, the settlement includes up to $145 million for consumers whose automobiles were stolen and covers nearly 9 million U.S. owners.
According to Hyundai and Kia, they will pay owners “who incurred theft-related vehicle losses or damage in addition to reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums, and other theft related losses.”
Korean manufacturers will give consumers up to $300 for steering wheel locks and other theft deterrence or prevention tools if their vehicles cannot fit security software upgrades.
“The settlement will provide benefits to those who have suffered out-of-pocket losses as soon as possible,” said Steve Berman, a lawyer representing owners.
TikTok videos showing how to steal cars without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices has led to at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities in the United States, regulators said in February.
Owners of Hyundai or Kia vehicles from 2011 through 2022 with a conventional “insert-and-turn” steel key ignition system are covered by the consumer settlement. It includes payouts for vehicle total losses up to $6,125, vehicle and personal property damage up to $3,375, and costs associated with insurance.
The settlement also covers additional related costs not covered by insurance, such as car rental, taxi fares, or other transportation charges.
Owners can get reimbursed for towing costs, stolen vehicles that suffered crashes or were never recovered, and payments for tickets or other penalties or fines incurred from a stolen vehicle.
Several significant cities, including St. Louis, Missouri, Cleveland, Ohio, San Diego, California, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Columbus, Ohio, Baltimore, and Seattle, have filed lawsuits against the automakers over the thefts.