Hyundai and Kia may have agreed to a $200 million settlement with consumers in a national class-action lawsuit, but they still face a rigorous climb up a mountain of legal challenges.
Reaching the settlement that litigants welcomed last week is only one step for the automakers. They are still defendants in numerous lawsuits brought by entities seeking damages they claim resulted from Hyundai and Kia's decision not to include engine immobilizers as standard equipment on 9 million of their older vehicles on the road.
The legal tangle was sparked by a wave of car thefts last year after a TikTok video demonstrated how to hot-wire Hyundai and Kia vehicles that lack an anti-theft device. To diffuse the situation, Hyundai and Kia have offered owners of 8.3 million of the vehicles software updates that will enhance their alarms. They also have been working to get steering wheel locks to owners whose vehicles are ineligible for the upgrade.
In addition to the consumer class action that settled, they are still being sued by 68 insurance companies, a handful of city governments and a subset of consumers in California, alleging the manufacturers sidestepped an important federal safety standard and allowed their vehicles to be easily targeted by amateur thieves.