Hyundai and Kia agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over claims that lack of antitheft technology in many of its models make them prone to theft.
The South Korean automakers agreed to pay more than $200 million to settle the suit, which would cover some nine million vehicle owners between the two brands.
The companies have been under fire for months over a rash of thefts of 2011 to 2022 models that didn’t include antitheft technology as standard equipment.
Some thieves posted how-to videos on social media instructing others on how to steal the models.
The models in question lacked immobilizers, which prevent them from being started without transmission of a code from a “smart” key, said the law firm that represented the class in the suit, Hagens Berman. The firm said “design flaws” in the models also allow theft in less than 90 seconds.
Multiple major U.S. cities have sued the carmakers over the issue, 18 states sought a recall of the affected models, and about two dozen attorneys general urged the companies to take more action to stem the thefts.
The carmakers expedited a software upgrade for the models, worked with AAA to insure the vehicles, and reimbursed owners for steering wheel locks. But they continued to hear from the various parties that they weren’t doing enough.
The settlement covers payments of up to $6,125 for vehicle loss, and up to $3,375 for damage. Also included are funds to cover transportation costs not covered by insurance, such as taxis and car rentals.
LEARN MORE: States Seek Recall of Theft-Prone Hyundai, Kia Models
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