$1 Billion Lawsuit from Insurers Over Stolen Hyundais, Kias Can Move Forward

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The insurers' suit raised adequate consumer protection, breach of warranty, negligence and fraud claims against the U.S. arms of both automakers, a federal judge said.

A federal court ruled Nov. 15 that several auto insurers’ lawsuits can proceed against Hyundai and Kia, seeking to recover $1 billion in claims paid to customers who owned vehicles that got stolen, Bloomberg Law reported.

The lawsuits raise adequate consumer protection, breach of warranty, negligence and fraud claims against the U.S. arms of both automakers, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said in response to a motion to dismiss.

In 2022, certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles built between 2011 and 2022 without engine immobilizers became the stars of a series of posts on social media platforms, showing how easily they can be stolen using a simple USB cable. Since then, theft rates for both brands have skyrocketed.

The insurers claim Hyundai and Kia failed to equip the vehicles with any anti-theft feature, and the omission can cause personal injury and damage to property other than the stolen vehicle.

After the social media posts took off, the automakers launched a series of tools aimed at curbing thefts of 14 million vulnerable vehicles in the U.S., including free software upgrades and steering wheel locks, but rates remain high.

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