Hyundai has decided to quickly end a class action lawsuit arising out of in connection with the mass theft of cars through the TikTok challenge. The auto giant agreed to a settlement amounting to approximately $200 million to compensate approximately 9 million to Hyundai and Kia owners in the United States.
Most of the amount, about $145 million, is intended to compensate customers who suffered uninsured losses because their cars were stolen or damaged. Hyundai and Kia also agreed to bear the cost of insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums and other related costs.
The settlement covers a variety of Hyundai and Kia vehicles manufactured between the 2011 and 2022 model years, including the popular Elantra, Santa Fe and Tucson. In addition, the list includes the premium Genesis Coupe 2011-2014. Hyundai and Kia will pay up to $6,125 to each owner for the total loss of the vehicle and up to $3,375 for damage to the vehicle and personal property inside.
Hyundai and Kia have already implemented a dealer-installed update that increases theft protection for some models, such as the 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue. This improvement disables the push button engine start function and increases the duration of the alarm. Other cars due for a similar update will receive them by June. In addition, Hyundai and Kia will provide up to $300 per driver to help purchase anti-theft devices.
The lawsuit against Hyundai follows the emergence of the 2022 Kia Challenge, a viral trend started by a group of young people called the Kia Boyz, who posted a TikTok video showing how to bypass the anti-theft immobilizers of many Hyundai and Kia vehicles using ordinary USB cables. This led to a significant increase in the number of car thefts of these brands and prompted the intervention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which linked at least 14 accidents and eight deaths to these viral videos. Stealing Hyundai and Kia cars was so easy that the police often detained teenagers aged 12-14 in stolen cars.