Hyundai Kia theft class action lawsuit settlement agreement involves 9 million vehicles in the U.S.

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Hyundai Kia Theft Lawsuit Preliminarily Approved
Hyundai Kia theft class action lawsuit settlement agreement involves 9 million vehicles in the U.S.

— A Hyundai Kia theft lawsuit settlement has been preliminarily approved for about 9 million vehicles.

The settlement includes all combined consumer class action lawsuits that allege certain 2011-2022 Hyundai and Kia vehicles are defective because they are not equipped with engine immobilizers.

Hyundai and Kia deny all allegations and liability and say criminals are responsible for the thefts.

The automakers say they settled the consolidated class action to put an end to the ongoing and expensive litigation.

According to the theft settlement, Hyundai and Kia will provide money to a "common fund" of a minimum of $80 million to a maximum of $145 million.

As pointed out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, engine immobilizers are not required in the U.S.

The Hyundai and Kia vehicles weren't targets of thieves until teens began posting videos online about how to break into and steal the vehicles.

For a locked car, the teens break a window, tear apart the steering column, remove the ignition lock and start the vehicle with a standard USB cable. Criminals recorded their crimes, posted the videos online and "challenged" other people to do the same.

This came to be known as the "Kia Challenge."

It looks like the first reported incidents likely occurred in Wisconsin in 2021.

Theft Lawsuit Settlement: Hyundai Vehicles

  • 2011-2022 Hyundai Accent
  • 2011-2022 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2013-2020 Hyundai Elantra GT
  • 2013-2014 Hyundai Elantra Coupe
  • 2011-2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring
  • 2011-2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
  • 2018-2022 Hyundai Kona
  • 2020-2021 Hyundai Palisade
  • 2011-2022 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
  • 2013-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
  • 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2011-2022 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2012-2017, 2019-2021 Hyundai Veloster
  • 2020-2021 Hyundai Venue
  • 2011-2012 Hyundai Veracruz

Theft Lawsuit Settlement: Kia Vehicles

  • 2011-2021 Kia Forte
  • 2021-2022 Kia K5
  • 2011-2020 Kia Optima
  • 2011-2021 Kia Rio
  • 2011-2021 Kia Sedona
  • 2021-2022 Kia Seltos
  • 2011-2022 Kia Soul
  • 2011-2022 Kia Sorento
  • 2011-2022 Kia Sportage

Software Upgrade for Eligible Vehicles

Though the theft lawsuit settlement call this a "benefit" of the settlement, Hyundai and Kia were offering these free updates long before the settlement agreement was reached.

The software upgrade is to prevent a vehicle that was locked using a key fob from starting without the key being present "by the method of theft popularized on TikTok and other social media channels."

This means the software upgrade will prevent the vehicle from being started by a USB cable after removing the steering column. However, the criminals can still break the windows and destroy the steering columns, actions necessary before using a USB cable in a locked car.

"The Software Upgrade does not guarantee any vehicle will not be subject to theft or attempted theft." — Hyundai Kia theft settlement

Each year the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the U.S. were equipped with engine immobilizers. Even though the Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the lawsuit were never equipped with engine immobilizers, none of the vehicles were on the most stolen list until recently after the online videos appeared.

For example, no Hyundai or Kia vehicle made the top 10 most stolen list for 2020, which was before the criminals began posting the videos.

The software update is for the life of the vehicle, and any remedies "related to the Software Upgrade warranty will be strictly limited to repair or re-performance of the Software Upgrade."

Software Alternative Vehicle

There are Hyundai and Kia vehicles that cannot handle the software upgrade, what the settlement agreement calls "software alternative vehicles."

Software Alternative Vehicle: Reimbursement

Customers who own a vehicle that cannot accept the software upgrade will be eligible for reimbursement for the following:

  • Purchase of a steering wheel lock.
  • Purchase and installation of a glass breakage alarm or similar anti-theft system.
  • Purchase of another aftermarket modification designed to deter or prevent theft such as the Hyundai Accessory Security Kit.

Reimbursement is capped at $300 per claim as long as the purchase was made when the vehicle was not eligible for the software upgrade.

Reimbursements for Software Eligible Vehicles

Hyundai and Kia have provided hundreds of thousands of free steering wheel locks to customers.

However, Hyundai and Kia customers with vehicles that can receive the software upgrade are eligible for up to a $50 reimbursement of a steering wheel lock purchase if it was at least 30 days before the software upgrade was made available.

Partial Reimbursement for Total Losses

The settlement says the common fund will cover expenses related to a total loss of a Hyundai or Kia vehicle to theft or attempted theft of a vehicle as occurred in the online videos.

However, the reimbursement is subject to a maximum cap of 60% of the Black Book value of the vehicle.

If the vehicle wasn't a total loss but personal property was stolen or damaged, a customer may be reimbursed up to $3,375 or 33% of the Black Book value of the vehicle, whichever is greater.

Insurance-Related Reimbursement

Reimbursement of any insurance deductibles paid and increased insurance premiums for insurance policies that includes theft coverage resulting from a theft or attempted theft is subject to a per incident cap of $375.

A customer will need to provide documentation to show any changes in insurance.

Reimbursement of Other Expenses

If certain expenses were not covered by insurance, Hyundai and Kia will provide reimbursement capped at $250 per incident. Those incidents include car rentals, taxi rides, towing costs and expenses related to speeding or red light tickets caused by a stolen Hyundai or Kia vehicle.

Important Dates Relating to the Hyundai Kia Theft Lawsuit Settlement:

  • Deadline to Exclude Yourself: May 3, 2024
  • Deadline to Object: May 3, 2024
  • Settlement Final Fairness Hearing: July 15, 2024
  • Hyundai Kia Theft Lawsuit Claim Submission Deadline: January 11, 2025

The settlement agreement says about 94 named plaintiffs who sued will receive $1,000 each.

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs are seeking between $20 million to $36.2 million in fees, plus an additional amount for expenses.

The case is titled, In re: Kia Hyundai Vehicle Theft Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.

The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Fegan Scott LLC, Humphrey Farrington & McClain, P.C., and Baron & Budd, P.C.

Hyundai owners can learn more at and Kia owners can visit

Hyundai and Kia Theft Lawsuits

  • Heather Jones v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Joanna Pue et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Erica Loburgio et al v. KIA America, Inc. et al
  • Charles W. Simmons et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Rita Day v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Brian Bendorf et al v. KIA America et al
  • Cobi Bissell v. Hyundai Motor America Corporation et al
  • Stacie Moon v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Jo Taylor Slovak et al v. KIA America Inc. et al
  • Stefanie Marvin v. Kia America Inc et al
  • Miriam Fruhling et al v. Kia Motors America, Inc. et al
  • Ann Brady et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Jon Bodie et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Amber Hall v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Lisa Hilliard et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Rivera v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • LaShaun Johnson v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Patricia Browning et al v. Kia America Incorporated et al
  • Broadway v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Jeff Spores v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Pamela Givens v. KIA America, Inc.
  • Brandye Burnett v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Steve Zanmiller v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Robert Ballis et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Laura Parker v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Philos Jeong v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Mary Horne v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Anastasia Pearson et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Walker v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Jennifer Fisher v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Casey DeKam et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Adam Murphy v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Juliette Neves v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Gregory Alston et al v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Brenda Baker v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Nadia Stanich v. Kia America, Inc.
  • Tracy Martinez v. Kia America, Inc.
  • Beneman v. Kia America, Inc. et al
  • Latoya C. Jones v. Kia America, Inc.
  • John Allen v. Kia America, Inc.


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