TWO automakers have agreed to pay $200million after a spate of thefts was popularized on social media.
Hyundai and Kia settled a class-action lawsuit with 9million owners who own vehicles with certain ignition parts between model years 2011 and 2022.
Both car companies utilized traditional insert-and-turn ignitions in their standard vehicles.
The lawsuit claimed the companies failed to enhance car safety with an immobilizer – an electronic motor addition that would stop the engine from running if the key was not in the car.
The companies have set aside $145million in the $200million lawsuit for car owners.
Owners who completely lost their vehicles are eligible for up to $6,125.
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Cars that were damaged can net customers up to $3,375.
The settlement will also reimburse drivers for towing and other manufacturer fees related to the thefts.
The civil complaint alleged there are 4.5million impacted Hyundai owners and 4.5million impacted Kia owners.
The plaintiff’s lawyer praised the financial agreement in a statement after the deal.
“The benefits will upgrade eligible cars and bring monetary relief to those who suffered damages due to Hyundai and Kia’s actions,” lawyer Kenneth McClain said.
The lawyers said a settlement website will be made – Hyundai and Kia customers impacted by the thefts can expect communications from the legal team.
INSIDE THE CAR’S TIKTOK CHALLENGE
The car’s lax ignitions were central to TikTok’s “Kia Boys” trend.
The trend featured pre-teen and teenage drivers who stole cars and drove them recklessly for social media influence.
Social media users who gained entry into the cars could quickly turn on the car’s motor with a flat-head screwdriver and a USB drive.
Attorneys general of 17 states and the District of Columbia admonished both companies in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Thefts of these Hyundai and Kia vehicles have led to at least eight deaths, numerous injuries and property damage, and they have diverted significant police and emergency services resources from other priorities,” the attorneys general wrote in a joint letter.
In response, Hyundai and Kia began implementing software updates in the cars to make them harder to steal.
Hyundai and Kia sales have not been tethered to the Kia Boys challenge – the companies reported scorching sales in April.
NO SLOWING SALES
Hyundai and Kia saw massive growth in April 2023.
The car companies both reported at least 15 percent sales increases over April 2022.
Consumers should not expect big markdowns or sales from either company with the blistering numbers.
Both Hyundai and Kia are leaders in the U.S. electric vehicle market – they offer multiple EVs in their lineups.
The U.S. Sun reports on other sales trends – here are some iconic brands selling products on the low.
Also, a giant bank is returning money after customers complained about being double charged.