Hyundai, Kia agree to $200 mn settlement over TikTok car theft challenge

Hyundai and Kia have agreed a $200 million settlement to resolve class-action litigation with owners of certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles without push-button ignition and anti-theft devices installed, the so-called “Kia Challenge” on TikTok.

Hyundai Motor America and Kia America said in a statement that they will provide cash compensation as part of the agreement to customers who incur losses or theft-related damage to vehicles not covered by insurance, in addition to paying insurance deductibles, increasing insurance premiums, and more. Theft-related losses.

The “Kia challenge” on social media platforms has led to hundreds of car thefts, including at least 14 reported crashes and eight deaths, according to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Known as “Kia Boyz,” thieves post instructional videos on YouTube and TikTok on how to bypass vehicle security using simple tools like a USB cable.

“We appreciate the opportunity to provide additional support to our owners who have been impacted by the increased and ongoing criminal activity targeting our vehicles,” said Jason Earp, Chief Legal Officer, Hyundai Motor Company North America.

The settlement includes approximately 9 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

“We are committed to continuing software upgrade installations and steering wheel lock distribution to help prevent thefts and offering insurance options through AAA to those who have had difficulty securing and sustaining coverage,” he added.

As part of this settlement, the software upgrade will be automatically installed in conjunction with any service or maintenance appointment that the owner of an eligible vehicle brings to the dealership.

“Kia is pleased that today’s announcement will allow customers affected by vehicle theft to receive additional benefits,” said John Yun, chief legal officer, Kia America.

Kia said it will also provide a free security software upgrade and distribute more than 65,000 steering wheel locks to help customers whose vehicles have been targeted by criminals using theft tactics popular on social media.

The company said that for customers whose vehicles can’t accommodate a software upgrade, the agreement will provide reimbursement of up to $300 for the purchase of various anti-theft hardware.

– Jans

na / shb /

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