Hyundai, Kia Sued Over Car Thefts In US
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (IANS) – Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia are now facing a new lawsuit from New York City in the US in response to the widespread vehicle thefts that gained attention on social media platforms such as TikTok. The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has filed a lawsuit alleging that the automakers were negligent in not equipping their vehicles with adequate anti-theft devices, which would have made them more difficult to steal. This information was reported by The Verge and initially covered by The Wall Street Journal.
The “Kia Challenge,” as it came to be known, has resulted in numerous car thefts across the country, as reported by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The thefts have led to at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities. A group of thieves known as the “Kia Boys” gained notoriety for posting instructional videos on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, demonstrating how to bypass the security systems of Kia vehicles using tools as simple as a USB cable.
In September of the previous year, Hyundai and Kia were previously sued in the US due to a defect exposed in a TikTok challenge, which led to a significant increase in vehicle thefts nationwide. A class-action lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Orange County, California, claiming that Kias manufactured between 2011 and 2021 and Hyundai cars built from 2015 to 2021 were intentionally constructed without engine immobilizers. This defect made the vehicles vulnerable to theft.
Last month, Hyundai and Kia reached a $200 million settlement to resolve class-action litigation with owners of certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles that lacked push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices, which were at the center of the “Kia Challenge” controversy. This settlement aimed to compensate the affected vehicle owners.