By Chart R
Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai have agreed to pay $200m to settle a class action lawsuit that claims some of the vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2019 are too easy to steal. The legal challenge stemmed from a sharp rise in thefts of Kia & Hyundai vehicles over the last few years, as viral videos on TikTok and YouTube posted by thieves known as the “Kia Boyz” showed how to bypass certain models security systems, using tools as simple as a USB charging cable to start the ignition.
Data from city police departments, collated by USAFacts, reveals just how sharply those figures rose in certain cities. For example, in Chicago, Milwaukee and Dayton, more Kias and Hyundais were reported stolen than all other vehicle brands combined in certain months of the last 2 years. Milwaukee in particular was one of the earliest cities where the trend took off, with nearly 3,200 Kias or Hyundais stolen in the first six months of 2021, up more than 2,500% on the same period the year before.
The thefts are reportedly made possible because many Kia & Hyundai vehicles manufactured in that time lack electronic immobilizers — a feature that’s standard for most cars made in that period.
The deal struck this week includes potential payments of up to $6,125 for owners who have had their cars stolen, as well as provisions for installing new anti-theft security features. All told the settlement could cover up to 9 million vehicle owners.