Hyundai & Kia offering anti-theft kits for older model vehicles, facing dozens of lawsuits over absence of immobilizers - Repairer Driven News (2023)

Hyundai and Kia are facing dozens of lawsuits across the U.S., including a federal class action suit filed in California, over theft risk of their older model vehicles that lack engine immobilizers.

MLG Attorneys at Law, the California law firm that filed the class action suit, is now calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to take legal action against the automakers “for failing to install engine immobilizers on their vehicles, a technology used by nearly all other major manufacturers that protects the cars from theft.”

The firm, several news outlets, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have reported on a group known as the “Kia Boyz” posting “Kia Challenge” TikToks earlier this year which show viewers how to steal Hyundai and Kia vehicles using a screwdriver and USB cord. The TikTok video has been seen by 33 million people and has resulted in the theft of countless vehicles made by both OEMs, according to a news release from MLG.

“The Los Angeles Police Department has seen car thefts nearly double since the same time last year, diverting substantial resources to the widespread problem,” MLG states. “According to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, more than 1,600 Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been stolen this year in the city ofLos Angeles alone. Other cities are experiencing a similar increase in thefts.”

MLG’s class action complaint states, “An engine immobilizer is a critical piece of electronic security technology that serves as a crucial tool in minimizing the risk of vehicle theft. Immobilizers prevent vehicles from being started unless a unique code is transmitted from the vehicle’s key. Pursuant to a 2016 study, immobilizers significantly reduced the overall rate of automobile thefts by approximately 40% during a 10-year period. Recognizing the immense value added by having engine immobilizers in vehicles as an anti-theft device, numerous countries have adopted legislation requiring immobilizers as standard equipment for new automobiles.”

The suit proposes three classes — California, Nevada, and nationwide. The plaintiffs seek injunctive relief barring both OEMs from selling the “defective” vehicles and ordering them to be fixed or replaced. Compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages are also sought.

When Repairer Driven News asked the OEMs about the pending litigation and a solution to the issue, both Hyundai and Kia said they don’t comment on pending litigation but did provide details on a fix.

“We remain concerned about the increase in thefts of certain Hyundai vehicles that have been targeted in a coordinated social media campaign,” Hyundai spokesperson Ira Gabriel said. “Currently, Hyundai provides steering wheel locks, as available, to law enforcement agencies in impacted areas. In addition, Hyundai will provide two other options for owners of these earlier model year vehicles targeted by thieves.

“Hyundai has released a glass break sensor security kit that targets the method of entry used by thieves to break into these vehicles. These kits are available for purchase and installation at Hyundai dealershipsandCompustar authorized installers across the country. The MSRP for the kit is $170, and the estimated cost for installation may vary by location.Hyundai is also developing a software update to further secure these targeted vehicles. We anticipate that this software update will become available for certain vehicles in the first half of 2023, with updates for other vehicles following thereafter.”

Gabriel noted that all Hyundais “meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards” and said some models that don’t have a push-button ignition don’t have engine immobilizers, but as of November 2021, immobilizers became standard on all Hyundai vehicles produced.

Kia spokesperson James Bell noted in his statement to RDN that, “While no car can be made completely theft-proof, criminals are targeting vehicles equipped with a steel key and ‘turn-to-start’ ignition system as opposed to those equipped with a key fob and ‘push-button-to-start’ system.”

“Kia America continues to work closely with local law enforcement in affected areas to provide steering wheel lock devices at no cost to concerned owners of steel key operated Kia vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilizer,” he said. “All 2022 models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the year or as a running change, and all Kia vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. In addition, Kia is developing and testing software updates to further secure these targeted vehicles and will share more information as it becomes available.”

Hyundai and Kia wouldn’t provide the model years that don’t have the immobilizers but Forbes reports models affected include 2016-2021 Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade as well as 2011-2021 Kias that use a key to start the engine.

MLG contends that the OEMs admitted to the federal government in filings made 15 years ago that engine immobilizers can reduce car thefts by up to 85% and is making profit off of the aftermarket security kits.

“There are more Kia and Hyundai vehicles inCaliforniathan any other part of the country,” saidJonathan Michaels, principal of MLG Attorneys at Law, in the release. “The rampant theft of the vehicles in this state is having a significant impact on the availability of public resources. This is not an expense citizens of the state should be required to bear – particularly when Hyundai has chosen to profit greatly from the sale of its aftermarket kit. If Kia and Hyundai won’t stand behind their vehicles and issue a recall, Californiashould bring legal action forcing them to do so.”

“Given that Kia and Hyundai avail themselves of the benefits of California’sprotections, and that there are more citizens being harmed inCalifornia than any other state, Governor Newsom should take center stage in protecting its residents and hold the Kia and Hyundai.”

In September, law firm Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe launched an investigation to determine if the automakers’ alleged failure “to thoroughly disclose the related safety concerns” is “false and misleading in violation of state and federal laws.”

IIHS found that “bargain-priced” vehicles manufactured by Hyundai are now at nearly as much risk of being stolen as muscle cars and luxury SUVs.

A Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) analysis of 2021 insurance claims released in September shows that among 2019-2021 models, whole vehicle theft claims were highest for the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and nearly twice as common for 2015-2019 model year Kias and Hyundais. Model year 2019-2021 Kias and Hyundais have a lower rate of theft compared to 2015-2019 models but the Kia Rio, Kia Sportage, Kia Sportage 4WD, and Hyundai Accent are still on IIHS’ list of most frequently stolen vehicles for those model years.


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How much are people getting from the Hyundai settlement? ›

for model year 2011 and 2012 Class Vehicles – $2,000; for model year 2013 and 2014 Class Vehicles – $1,500; for model year 2015 and 2016 Class Vehicles – $1,000; for model year 2017, 2018, and 2019 Class Vehicles – $500.

What Kia models are easy to steal? ›

Statistics further suggest that models of Hyundai and Kia manufactured from 2011 to 2021 are most at risk because these cars lack an engine immobilizer and can be operated with a traditional mechanical key.

Is there a lawsuit against Kia for theft? ›

A city release states that from 2021 to 2022, thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars increased by 363% and 503%, respectively. The lawsuit alleges that Kia and Hyundai knew of the public safety concerns from the spike in thefts of their vehicles and that neither company took meaningful steps to address the problem.

Which Hyundai models do not have immobilizer? ›

Hyundai and Kia wouldn't provide the model years that don't have the immobilizers but Forbes reports models affected include 2016-2021 Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade as well as 2011-2021 Kias that use a key to start the ...

How much will I get from Kia settlement? ›

Kia dealerships will provide a free loaner vehicle of comparable value if requested, until repairs are completed. If no loaner vehicle is available, Kia will provide full reimbursement of reasonable rental car expenses up to $40 per day.

Is there a class action lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia? ›

At A Glance

This Alert Affects: Anyone who purchased or leased a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai. What's Going On? A lawsuit has been filed alleging that a defect in Kia and Hyundai vehicles makes them easy to operate without a key.

What is the number one most popular car to be stolen? ›

Ford Full-Size Pickup

Topping the list of the most stolen cars in America in 2020 is the 2006 Ford F-150. This is the second year the pickup has topped the listing, with over 44,014 units stolen in 2020, 13% higher than in 2019.

What are the two easiest cars to steal? ›

Typically, luxury vehicles and sports cars rank highest on the “most-stolen” list, but Hyundai and Kia thefts have been on the rise, rivaling pricier models in recent years.

How do I join a class action lawsuit against Kia? ›

To file a new claim online, please visit Kia's website at You will be asked to provide contact information, information about your Class Vehicle including the VIN and mileage.

What models of Hyundai are being stolen? ›

The list of affected Hyundai models includes certain 2016-21 model year Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade vehicles that use a steel key and do not have an engine immobilizer.

How long does it take to get a settlement from a stolen car? ›

Once liability has been admitted and enough evidence has been produced for the claim to be quantified, your insurer should settle the claim within three months.

Why are Kia cars being stolen so much? ›

Kia vehicles from model year 2011 to 2021 and Hyundai vehicles from model year 2016 to 2021 are especially vulnerable due to the absence of anti-theft devices that have long been standard for other automakers.

What is Hyundai doing about car thefts? ›

Hyundai has released a glass break sensor security kit that targets the method of entry used by thieves to break into these vehicles. These kits are available for purchase and installation at Hyundai dealerships and Compustar authorized installers across the country.

How do you know if your Hyundai has an immobilizer? ›

If the head of your key is contained in a plastic housing, or you have a fob with buttons to remotely lock and unlock the doors, your car has an immobilizer. Cars with push-button starts are not affected.

How do you override an engine immobilizer? ›

You can bypass the immobilizer by placing the key in the keyhole hence deactivating the car's immobilizer to remote start. The added security with Mobokey allows the security to be activated as soon as the phone moves away from the car, so you don't have to worry about car security.

How do I prevent my Kia from being stolen? ›

The majority of Kia vehicles in the United States are equipped with a key fob and “push-button-to-start” system, making them more difficult to steal. All 2022 Kia models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the model year or as a running change.

Which Kia models have engine problems? ›

In that instance, the class action suit alleged problems with Kia Optimas made from 2011 to 2014, the Kia Sportage of 2011 to 2014, and the 2012 to 2014 Kia Sorento. Those vehicles were equipped with 2.0- and 2.4-liter Theta II engines with direct injection (GDI in H/K speak).

Is there a downside to joining class action lawsuit? ›

One of the dangers of joining a class action lawsuit is that you lose the right to file an individual lawsuit if the class action case fails. In addition, you cannot reject a settlement offer to which the class representatives have agreed.

Is it hard to win a class action lawsuit? ›

It is extremely rare for class actions to actually proceed to trial – the vast majority are settled, while the rest may remain pending or tangled up in litigation for years. To win a class action lawsuit, therefore, you need to hire the best attorney and put pressure on the company to settle as quickly as possible.

Is it OK to participate in class action lawsuit? ›

In most cases, it is a good idea to join the class action if you believe you suffered injuries or financial losses caused by the defendant. We do recommend you give us a call and discuss your situation with one of our class action lawsuit attorneys before you make a decision, however.

Why do you wrap car keys in aluminum foil? ›

Prevent car theft by wrapping your car key fob in foil. Yes, that's right — a piece of tinfoil can stop your car from getting stolen. Key fobs might be convenient, but there's a security risk associated with them. Thieves can use devices that will amplify fob signals to cars or copy the code to get into a vehicle.

What is the most stolen item from a car? ›

Here are nine commonly stolen car parts or items and tips to prevent theft so you don't become a victim.
  1. Tires and Wheels. If you've bought new tires and/or wheels recently, you know they can get expensive. ...
  2. Tailgates. ...
  3. Batteries. ...
  4. Catalytic Converters. ...
  5. Stereo Systems. ...
  6. Third Row Seats. ...
  7. Registration. ...
  8. Garage Door Openers.

What's the easiest car to steal 2022? ›

What Are the Most Stolen Cars as of 2022?
  • Chevrolet Pickup.
  • Ford Pickup.
  • Honda Civic.
  • Honda Accord.
  • Toyota Camry.
  • GMC Pickup.
  • Nissan Altima.
  • Honda CR-V.
Dec 20, 2022

How do you make a car impossible to steal? ›

Keeping your car safe: Tips for preventing auto theft
  1. Lock your doors. ...
  2. Remove your keys from the vehicle. ...
  3. Do not leave a spare key near your vehicle. ...
  4. Close the windows. ...
  5. Park in well-lit areas. ...
  6. Install an audible alarm system and anti-theft device. ...
  7. Install a vehicle immobilizer system. ...
  8. Install a tracking system.

Where should I keep my car keys at night? ›

Where do you put your car keys at night? Putting the keys near you at night, rather than the front door, is best. Keyless fobs should be placed into an RFID/Faraday box.

What is the least stolen vehicle in the US? ›

BMW 3-Series

BMW's sporty compact luxury sedan is the least stolen ride in America, according to HLDI, with a relative claim frequency of just 4. The average among all vehicles is 100. The all-wheel-drive 3 Series is a bit more popular among car thieves with a relative claim frequency of 21.

How long does it take to get money from a class action settlement? ›

The average time it takes to process a settlement check is between one and six weeks. However, it can take several months for you to receive just compensation. If you hire one of the experienced attorneys from Morgan & Morgan, you should not have to wait six weeks to receive your settlement check.

Should I opt out of a class action lawsuit? ›

There are a number of reasons why you may choose not to participate in a class action: If your losses were significantly more than other members of the class. If the facts of your case were different and you are concerned that the class action might not address all your interests.

Is it worth is to file a claim for a class action settlement? ›

In general, yes – class action lawsuits are worth it. For Class Members who are able to recover benefits from a class action settlement, all it takes is filling out a claim form and potentially providing documentation. This can allow them to recover up to thousands of dollars in compensation.

Do Hyundai cars have tracking devices? ›

The Car Finder feature is accessed through the MyHyundai with Bluelink Mobile App. This feature allows you to locate your vehicle on a map if your GPS signal is within a 1-mile radius of your vehicle, and gives you the ability to save your vehicle's location for future reference.

What are the three most stolen cars? ›

The top 10 most stolen vehicles of 2020

2004 Chevrolet full size pick-up. 2000 Honda Civic. 1997 Honda Accord. 2019 Toyota Camry.

Can Hyundai track my stolen car? ›

With Blue Link®, you can locate your stolen car even sooner. Blue Link® has the ability to provide local law enforcement with your car's exact location and can even immobilize the engine until it's been recovered.

How long do most car accident settlements take? ›

According to a national survey, it takes just under 11 months on average to receive a settlement from your car accident case.

How fast is a settlement? ›

On average, the typical settlement can take up to six weeks for processing after the case is settled. This is due to a number of factors and may vary from one case to another. This is just an average on how long it will take to get paid after your case is finished but varies depending on a number of factors.

How long does it take for insurance to approve a settlement? ›

It could take an insurance company 1-2 weeks to respond to your demand letter and any further letters. The whole process could take months, depending on how many rounds of offers and counteroffers are involved. Once you've accepted a settlement, it could take a few weeks to a month before your payment arrives.

How much are people getting from 1800 Contact settlement? ›

What do the Settlements provide? Defendants will collectively pay $40 million to settle the claims against them.

Does everyone get the same amount in a class action lawsuit? ›

Class action lawsuit settlements are not divided evenly. Some plaintiffs will be awarded a larger percent while others receive smaller settlements. There are legitimate reasons for class members receiving smaller payouts.

How much is the class action settlement? ›

Around half of settlement payments were between $50 and $300. Some eligible group members who only repaid small amounts, may have got less than $10 as a settlement payment. People who paid back more, or were without their money for longer, got larger payments.


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