Monday, July 15, 2024
NewsHyundai and Kia are Being Sued by Insurers in the United States

Hyundai and Kia are Being Sued by Insurers in the United States

Hyundai and Kia will be taken to court by U.S. insurers in California over vehicles that are too easy to steal.

  • A wave of thefts has been affecting Kia and Hyundai models in U.S. cities due to a lack of engine immobilizers.

  • This could cost the insurance industry close to $600 million.

  • Insurers want Hyundai and Kia to pay for theft or damage claims.

68 different American insurance companies have teamed up in a lawsuit filed against Hyundai and Kia that claims the automaker’s vehicles are too easy to steal.

This lawsuit hopes to force both South Korean automakers to reimburse insurance companies for the money they spent replacing or repairing stolen vehicles in the United States, a sum that could end up close to $600 million.

This wave of thefts targeting vehicles sold by both automakers between 2011 and 2022 in the U.S. market began about two years ago when videos on TikTok showed how to steal these models with nothing more than a screwdriver and a USB cable.

Thefts started out in the Milwaukee area back in 2021, but they quickly spread out to the entire country, and many cities now say that over 60% of all vehicles stolen on their territory are from Hyundai or Kia.

2021 Kia Forte
2021 Kia Forte

The reason these companies are the only ones involved is that their entry-level models that are not equipped with push-button start are also not fitted with an engine immobilizer, something that has been standard on most vehicles for many years already.

While most thefts are committed by teens who take the cars for a joyride, insurance claims can vary from $3,000 to $20,000 depending on if the vehicle was recovered or not.

More concerning is that a recent software update that was supposed to make these vehicles more secure doesn’t seem to have been effective since the rate of thefts has continued to climb over the last month.

2020 Hyundai Tucson | Photo: Hyundai

In addition to suing the automakers, a large number of U.S. insurance companies are now refusing to insure new customers who own a Hyundai or Kia vehicle that wasn’t fitted with an immobilizer when it left the factory.

Canadian drivers are not affected by this issue since immobilizers have been made standard in both Hyundai and Kia models many years ago, making them no easier to steal than any other make.

Source: Automotive News

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