Kia and Hyundai Reach $200 Million Settlement for Theft-Vulnerable Cars

Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai have agreed to a class-action lawsuit settlement worth $200 million over claims that many of their cars are far too vulnerable to theft.[0] The settlement covers roughly 9 million owners of Hyundai or Kia vehicles made between 2011 and 2022 and have a traditional “insert-and-turn” steel key ignition system.[1] The settlement awaits the approval of a federal judge, but it could be valued at roughly $200 million, “depending on how many customers elect to participate.”[2] The auto manufacturers said in a statement that they would set aside up to $145 million for out-of-pocket losses that owners faced.

The settlement comes after thefts of Hyundai and Kia vehicles spiked in the summer of 2022 due to TikTok videos showing how to steal cars without the theft-prevention devices under the title “Kia Challenge.”[3] In these videos, thieves documented and promoted a specific method by which to bypass the vehicles’ security features, dismantle their steering columns and create direct access to their ignitions and challenged others to copycat their crimes.[4]

The settlement compensation to owners includes up to $145 million in out-of-pocket losses that will be distributed to people who had their vehicles stolen. Affected owners can be reimbursed up to $6,125 for the total loss of vehicles and up to $3,375 for damages to the vehicle and personal property, as well as insurance-related expenses.[5] The agreement will offer reimbursement up to $300 for the purchase of several anti-theft devices to customers whose vehicles are unable to accommodate the software upgrade.[6]

Tens of thousands of free steering wheel locks have been provided by Hyundai and Kia to consumers, either through local law enforcement or direct shipment to affected owners.[6] “Customer security remains a top priority, and we’re committed to continuing software upgrade installations and steering wheel lock distribution to help prevent thefts and offering insurance options through AAA for those who have had difficulty securing and sustaining coverage,” said Jason Erb, chief legal officer, Hyundai Motor North America.[4]

In a statement, Steve Berman, the managing partner of Hagens Berman law firm in Seattle and the primary lawyer in the legal case, explained that they have strived to secure a compensation that encompasses all kinds of damages, ranging from individuals who were fortunate enough to not have their vehicles stolen, to those whose cars were completely wrecked due to Hyundai and Kia’s carelessness.[7] The settlement is the latest step in a series of important actions that Kia and Hyundai have taken to help customers whose vehicles have been targeted by criminals using methods of theft popularized on social media.

In conclusion, the settlement is a significant step towards addressing the vulnerability of Hyundai and Kia vehicles to theft. The automakers have taken additional measures to support their customers, including software upgrade installations and steering wheel lock distribution to help prevent thefts and offering insurance options through AAA for those who have had difficulty securing and sustaining coverage. The settlement provides compensation to owners for out-of-pocket losses and reimbursement for insurance-related expenses, further demonstrating the companies’ commitment to upholding vehicle security and customer safety.

0. “Hyundai, Kia agree to class action settlement worth $200M over rampart car thefts” WDIV ClickOnDetroit, 18 May. 2023,

1. “Hyundai, Kia reach $200 million settlement over TikTok car thefts lawsuit”, 18 May. 2023,

2. “Hyundai and Kia agree to $200m class-action lawsuit” New York Daily News, 18 May. 2023,

3. “(LEAD) Hyundai, Kia OK US$200 mln settlement in U.S. car theft class-action suit” Yonhap News Agency, 19 May. 2023,

4. “Hyundai Motor America and Kia America Resolve Consumer Litigation in Response to Vehicle Thefts” PR Newswire, 18 May. 2023,

5. “Hyundai and Kia agree to $200 million legal settlement over theft issues – KION546” KION, 19 May. 2023,

6. “Kia & Hyundai Settle Agree to Pay Customers’ TikTok Theft Losses | auto connected car news” AUTO Connected Car News, 19 May. 2023,

7. “Hyundai and Kia settle lawsuit stemming from TikTok-inspired car thefts” Automotive News, 18 May. 2023,