Owners of affected vehicles can now confirm their inclusion in the settlement class and submit a claim at the settlement website.

Please note that you cannot make a settlement claim through Hagens Berman or our firm website. All settlement claims must go through the settlement website, by mail or by email to the settlement administrator.

Case Status
Active
Class Certified
Case Caption
In Re: Kia Hyundai Vehicle Theft Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation
Position
Co-Lead Counsel
Court
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
Judge Assigned
Hon. James V. Selna
Case Number
8:22-ml-03052-JVS-KES
Defendant(S)
Kia America, Inc.
Hyundai Motor America
File Date
Related Documents

WHAT’S THE ISSUE?

Unlike most vehicles, the Hyundai and Kia models affected by this security defect are not equipped with an immobilizer, leaving them vulnerable to theft, and often leaving owners with repair bills in excess of $10,000. The security vulnerability allows thieves to steal vehicles by simply opening the steering column and using a common USB charging cord or similar metal object to start the engine. Videos soon went viral online showing the simple security flaw, dubbed the “Kia Challenge.” We believe consumers who purchased affected Hyundai and Kia cars deserve better, and the automakers responsible failed to adequately protect against basic theft in order to cut costs.

AFFECTED VEHICLES

The proposed Settlement includes the following Hyundai and Kia vehicles that were manufactured without an engine immobilizer and distributed for sale in the United States (including Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Guam):

  • Hyundai 2011-2022 Accent
  • Hyundai 2011-2022 Elantra
  • Hyundai 2013-2020 Elantra GT
  • Hyundai 2013-2014 Elantra Coupe
  • Hyundai 2011-2012 Elantra Touring
  • Hyundai 2011-2014 Genesis Coupe
  • Hyundai 2018-2022 Kona
  • Hyundai 2020-2021 Palisade
  • Hyundai 2011-2022 Santa Fe
  • Hyundai 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport
  • Hyundai 2019 Santa Fe XL
  • Hyundai 2011-2019 Sonata
  • Hyundai 2011-2022 Tucson
  • Hyundai 2012-2017, 2019-2021 Veloster
  • Hyundai 2020-2021 Venue
  • Hyundai 2011-2012 Veracruz
  • Kia 2011-2021 Forte
  • Kia 2021-2022 K5
  • Kia 2011-2020 Optima
  • Kia 2011-2021 Rio
  • Kia 2011-2021 Sedona
  • Kia 2021-2022 Seltos
  • Kia 2011-2022 Soul
  • Kia 2011-2022 Sorento
  • Kia 2011-2022 Sportage

 

ABOUT THE “KIA CHALLENGE” THEFT DEFECT

Hyundai and Kia chose to manufacture and sell the affected vehicles without an immobilizer, a device which prevents most vehicles from being started unless a code is transmitted from the vehicle’s smart key. Viral videos on TikTok and YouTube give step-by-step instructions on how to steal the affected vehicles without a key, and reports of stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles have skyrocketed across the country. In fact, the “Kia Challenge,” widely shared on social media platforms, dares people to break in and then use a USB cord to start the cars.

By failing to install immobilizers in the affected vehicles – commonly equipped devices in modern cars – Hyundai and Kia knowingly left these affected vehicles prone to being stolen. The European Union has required immobilizers as a standard feature for all new vehicles since 1998, yet Hyundai and Kia have chosen to omit immobilizers in millions of vehicles in the U.S., despite deploying them in vehicles sold in countries with immobilizer requirements.

HYUNDAI KIA THEFTS ON THE RISE

News outlets have reported a sharp increase in vehicle thefts specifically affecting Hyundai and Kia models since 2020. Recent reports in Milwaukee, WI state that auto theft has increased more than 200% year-over-year, with Hyundai and Kia vehicles comprising two-thirds of those stolen. Viral videos of the “Kia Challenge” show teens and young adults going for joy rides and in some cases, even abandoning or crashing the cars. The incidents have turned dangerous, with suspects and bystanders being seriously injured or killed following unsafe driving and crashes related to the thefts. Because cars taken on joy rides often experience further damage, the owner’s total cost to repair their vehicle often exceed $10,000.

YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS

We believe Hyundai and Kia chose to sell the affected vehicles without immobilizers to cut costs. By failing to ensure their vehicles had adequate theft protection and security, Hyundai and Kia have essentially rendered vehicle owners vulnerable to the simplest of crimes. Despite public outcry, rising rates of Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts and municipalities’ requests, the automakers have failed to remedy this issue based on their own design flaw, defect and manufacturing choices. Hagens Berman believes vehicle owners deserve to be safe, and these automakers should be held accountable for putting drivers at risk for increased likelihood and rates of theft.

TOP AUTO LITIGATION FIRM

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 and other automakers for safety defects and emissions-cheating claims. The firm recently secured a $1.3 billion settlement for owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with the Theta II GDI engine, which were subject to engine fire hazard and total engine failure. Hagen’s Berman has secured more than $325 billion in total settlements, $20 billion of which relates to automotive class actions. Your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in automotive consumer law.

CASE TIMELINE

Court Preliminarily Approves Amended Settlement

A federal judge granted preliminary approval to an amended settlement agreement with Hyundai and Kia in the class action regarding the lack of an engine immobilizer in certain model year 2008-2022 Hyundai and 2011-2022 Kia vehicles with traditional turn-key ignition systems. The settlement is estimated to value up to $145 million or more in cash relief to class members, and according to plaintiffs’ economic expert report cited in the revised preliminary approval motion, it will likely bring “near full compensation” to most insured Hyundai and Kia owners who experienced theft and/or damaged vehicles due to the lack of an immobilizer. Engineering experts also conducted over 100 tests and determined that the software update included in the settlement will resolve the security defect in most impacted vehicles. 

Notice of the settlement will be sent out to class members no later than March 4, 2024, and class members may file settlement claims during the notice period. The court must grant final approval of the settlement before payments to class members can begin. The court will hold a final approval hearing on July 15, 2024. The judge’s order on final approval could come at any time on or after this date, and only after an order granting final approval is issued and any appeals are resolved, will settlement payments go out to claimants. Any appeals will delay these payments.

Hagens Berman Submits Amended Settlement Agreement and Motion for Preliminary Approval

On Sept. 27, 2023, Hagens Berman attorneys filed an amended settlement agreement and motion for preliminary approval in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The amended settlement agreement includes, among other changes: elimination of the potential credit to defendants if settlement claims do not reach $50 million, adjusted reimbursements for total loss and partial loss that align with estimated vehicle values and additional supporting expert evidence regarding the settlement benefits.

Under the amended settlement agreement, class members who experienced vehicle theft will be eligible for reimbursement up to 60% of the Black Book value of their vehicle, including licensing fees, sales tax paid, registration fees and other expenses, rather than the flat $6,125 cap offered under the initial settlement agreement. 

Class members who experienced vehicle damage due to an attempted theft will be reimbursed up to 33% of the Black Book value of their vehicle or $3,375 per claim, whichever is greater.

Order Granting Deadline Extension to Renew the Motion for Preliminary Approval of Revised Settlement Agreement
Court Extends Deadline for Revised Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement

Following an Aug. 16 order from the court requesting various changes to the settlement agreement before it could receive preliminary approval, Hagens Berman and attorneys for Hyundai and Kia requested an additional 21 days to prepare the requested revisions to the proposed settlement agreement. The court granted this request, and Hagens Berman attorneys are working diligently to finalize a new settlement agreement, which includes collection and analysis of real-time data regarding field implementation of the Software Upgrade. We will submit the revised agreement and renewed motion for preliminary approval for the court’s consideration on Sept. 26.

Court Grants Class Certification, Denies Motion for Preliminary Approval with Leave to Amend

In reviewing the proposed settlement agreement, Judge James V. Selna of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California certified a proposed class of an estimated nine million people who purchased or leased a vehicle impacted by the immobilizer defect. Judge Selna agreed that the class definition meets all standards required to be certified in this case. The court’s decision also concluded that Hagens Berman, “is experienced in consumer class actions, including having previously represented consumers in litigation against Hyundai and Kia,” and is therefore suitable to represent the certified class.
 
The court, however indicated that it is not yet prepared to grant preliminary approval to the proposed settlement agreement. The order directs settling parties to make various changes to the agreement, including, “fashion[ing] a matrix for reimbursement that aligns with Class Member’s vehicle’s estimated value,” rather than taking an average of all vehicles, which include those manufactured between a wide range of years – 2011 to 2022. Judge Selna has also requested additional information regarding the software upgrade and implementation. Judge Selna indicated that he thought the parties could make the changes needed for him to grant preliminary approval. It is not unusual for a judge to require changes to a settlement

Next, Hagens Berman attorneys will file an amended motion for preliminary approval in the next month, with necessary changes made to address the court’s concerns. The Court will reconsider preliminary approval of the class settlement at that time.

Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement

Hagens Berman moved the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for preliminary approval of a proposed settlement valued at more than $200 million. The terms of the proposed settlement include up to $145 million for out-of-pocket losses (including those related to thefts and attempted thefts), a free software upgrade and reimbursement for steering wheel lock purchases for certain Class Vehicles, and reimbursements up to $300 for the purchase of steering wheel locks and other antitheft systems for Class members whose Class Vehicles are not eligible for the software upgrade. 

The court will conduct a hearing on Aug. 15, 2023, where it will evaluate and consider preliminary approval of the settlement.

Settlement Reached

Hagens Berman reached a settlement-in-principle with Hyundai and Kia, following months of negotiations and mediation sessions. The settling parties are in the process of documenting the agreement, and the consumer plaintiffs will file a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement by July 20, 2023. Read more about the settlement in our press release »

Settlement Reached

Hagens Berman moved the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for preliminary approval of a proposed settlement valued at more than $200 million. The terms of the proposed settlement include up to $145 million for out-of-pocket losses (including those related to thefts and attempted thefts), a free software upgrade and reimbursements up to $300 for the purchase of steering wheel locks and other antitheft systems for class members whose class vehicles are not eligible for the software upgrade. 

The court will conduct a hearing on Aug. 15, 2023, where it will evaluate and consider preliminary approval of the settlement. Read more about the settlement in our press release »

Hagens Berman Appointed Co-Lead Counsel

Hagens Berman managing partner Steve W. Berman appointed co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Kia Hyundai Vehicle Theft Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation by U.S. District Judge James V. Selna.

Case Transfer Order

In a Dec. 13, 2022 order, plaintiffs in the case against Hyundai and Kia have moved to centralize 16 cases across various districts to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, assigned to the Honorable James V. Selna to “serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.” The case caption has also been updated to more accurately reflect the case, as In re: Kia Hyundai Vehicle Theft Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation. Judge Selna was the MDL judge in the Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration case in which Steve Berman served as co-lead counsel. “It will be an honor to be before a jurist like Judge Selna again, and I hope I am selected as one of the co-leads in this litigation, as the Toyota SUA case was one of my career favorites.”

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