As court-appointed co-lead counsel, Hagens Berman represented a class of Hyundai and Kia vehicle owners affected by an engine defect causing vehicle fires. In this automotive class-action lawsuit, the firm achieved a settlement valued at up to $1.3 billion for the class, delivering to class members lifetime warranties against the engine defect, software installation aimed to detect and prevent the engine defect and various monetary reimbursements.

Case Status
Settlement Amount
Valued at $1.3 Billion
Case Caption
In re: Kia Engine Litigation
Co-Lead Counsel
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
Judge Assigned
Hon. Josephine L. Staton
Case Number
8:18-cv-02223; related to 8:17-cv-00838
Hyundai Motor Company
Hyundai Motor America
Kia Motors Corporation
Kia Motors America Inc.
File Date

The following vehicles equipped with Theta II GDI engines have been identified as at risk for spontaneously catching on fire in non-collision events and/or suffering premature engine failure:



4.1 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with Theta II GDI engines are at risk for spontaneous, non-collision engine fires or premature engine failure, putting drivers under serious threat of physical injury and damage to their vehicles while driving.

As of October 2018, more than 220 consumer complaints of non-collision fires in these vehicles were submitted to NHTSA and the Center for Auto Safety combined. Between June 12 and October 12, 2018, the Center for Auto Safety learned of 103 additional fire reports — an 85 percent increase — and continues to receive new reports of engine failures and fires across various models.

Along with creating a severe driving hazard and increasing the chance of injury or death, the end result of the engine defect is serious, extensive, and expensive damage to the engine and/or total loss of the vehicle.


Our firm's investigation has revealed that the defect affects a myriad of Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with certain gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and multipoint fuel injection (MPI) engines.

These engines were manufactured defectively resulting in premature wear of the connecting rod bearings. A worn connecting rod bearing may result in an abnormal knocking noise from the engine and/or illumination of the oil pressure warning light. Continually driving a vehicle with a worn connecting rod bearing can damage the engine and eventually cause catastrophic engine failure. It can also result in a damaged connecting rod puncturing the engine block, causing engine oil to leak and ignite a fire.


Hagens Berman believes vehicle owners deserve more, and that these automakers should be held accountable for putting owners and drivers at grave risk of injury. While Hyundai and Kia would rather wait until they are forced to act, we think those put in harm's way should receive.


Hagens Berman is one of the most successful auto litigation law firms in the U.S. and is presently leading nationwide cases against Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, GM, Mercedes, and Fiat Chrysler for safety defects and emissions-cheating. Your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in automotive consumer law.


Order Granting Final Approval of Settlement
Case Update

On May 10, 2021, Judge Josephine L. Staton granted final approval of the Theta II GDI settlement, valued in total at $1.3 billion. The court’s settlement approval outlines the remedies offered under the settlement, including lifetime warranty against the engine defect, software installation aimed to detect and prevent the engine defect, reimbursements for repair-related costs and lost value due to engine failures or fires, and payment for repair delays.

Additional Vehicles Recalled by Hyundai and Kia

Hyundai and Kia have recalled additional vehicles affected by this defect potentially leading to vehicle fires. Hagens Berman is in turn expanding its litigation. New affected vehicles include:

  • 2012 Santa Fe (2.4L Theta II MPI engines)
  • 2011–2013 Sonata Hybrid (2.4L Theta II MPI HEV engines)
  • 2016 Sonata Hybrid (2.0L Nu GDI HEV engines)
  • 2015–2016 Veloster (1.6L Gamma GDI engines)
  • 2012–2019 Kia Soul (1.6L Gamma and 2.0L Nu GDI engines)
  • 2012–2013 Kia Forte and Forte Koup (2.4L Theta II MPI engines)
  • 2014–2015 Kia Forte and Forte Koup (2.0L Nu GDI engines)
  • 2011–2013 Kia Optima Hybrid (2.4L Theta II MPI engines)
  • 2012–2019 Kia Rio (1.6L Gamma GDI engines)
  • 2012–2013 Kia Sorento (2.4L Theta II MPI engines)
  • 2012 Kia Sportage (2.4L Theta II MPI engines)
Plaintiffs File Settlement Final Approval Papers

Consumers asked a federal judge in California to finally approve an $890 million settlement with Hyundai and Kia which requires the automakers to warranty the Theta II GDI engines for life, make certain cash payments, and reimburse owners of affected vehicles for repairs and other out-of-pocket costs related to the failure-prone engines. While U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton of the Central District of California conditionally approved a $758 million deal in May, the updated dollar amount, which could ultimately rise to $1.3 billion, “offers the class virtually everything Plaintiffs hoped to recover through the litigation,” consumers said in their filing. The Court will consider approval of the parties’ settlement at the final fairness hearing on November 13, 2020.

Court Preliminarily Approves Settlement

In an order issued May 7, 2020, U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton of the Central District of California conditionally approved Plaintiffs’ $758 million deal with automakers involving 4.1 million vehicles with Theta II GDI engines.

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