Kia and Hyundai agree on $200M settlement for car thefts

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Frustrated Kia and Hyundai owners could soon get some money back in their pockets.

Kia America Inc. and Hyundai Motor America, Inc. announced an agreement to resolve a class action lawsuit with owners of certain Kia and Hyundai models between 2011 through 2022 without push-button ignitions and immobilizers.

Those cars have been stolen at higher rates in part because of videos that have gone viral on social media. The cities of Rochester, Buffalo, and others have filed lawsuits against the two automakers, claiming they failed to add anti-theft technology so the cars are easy to hotwire with only a USB cable.

This impacts about nine million car owners in the U.S. and includes hundreds of people here in Rochester. With this $200 million settlement, it’s finally some good news for victims of car thefts.

One woman who recently had her 2012 Kia Optima stolen on Tuesday morning didn’t realize she was a victim until police knocked on her door and told her they found her car around the corner from her home.

“The car is just sitting there, two busted windows and my ignition is totally messed up and he just ransacked the whole car,” Abigail Murray said.

She is a mom of two and her kids rely on her for transportation. Murray also relies on her car to bring home the bacon. She’s an Uber and Lyft driver.

The teen who stole her car was caught on camera.

“He walked straight in my yard like he knew exactly what he came to do,” Murray said.

While her car is at a Kia dealership, waiting for repairs, she’s already out nearly $400 in just three days for a rental. Murray was told by the Kia dealership it may take a month and a half before she can get her car back.

“I’ve literally been crying about it all week. It makes me emotional,” Murray said.

Another Kia owner, Imari Calloway is in the same boat but worse. She’s out $1500 for a rental so far and has been waiting three months for her Kia to be repaired.

“That happened back in February. It’s now the beginning of May and we still don’t know much about anything. We don’t know when the parts are coming in,” Calloway said.

A spokesperson representing Kia and Hyundai said the cash will be provided to customers who had their cars stolen and or damaged. Customers can be reimbursed for things like insurance deductibles.

So how much are we talking? Up to around $6,100 for damages and up to around $3,300 for things like insurance and rental car expenses. They will also provide reimbursement of up to $300 for anti-theft devices.

“I don’t even know if I would want a Kia because who knows if it’s going to happen again. Who wants to go through this all over again,” Calloway said.

A website will soon go live with more information on how to get compensated and the automaker says they will send a notification in the mail to owners.