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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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August 17, 2023

Court’s Refusal Comes After Raoul Recommends Court Strengthen Settlement

Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today applauded a federal court’s move to decline to preliminarily approve a private consumer class-action settlement agreement involving Hyundai and Kia’s theft-prone vehicles. In its order, the federal court overseeing the settlement found that several factors weigh against a finding that the settlement agreement is fair and adequate.

The ruling comes after Raoul, as part of a coalition of seven attorneys general, urged the federal court to strengthen a private, consumer class-action settlement with Hyundai and Kia by requiring the companies to recall or buy back the theft-prone vehicles and equip them with engine-immobilizer technology.

“I appreciate the court taking into consideration comments I submitted with other attorneys general, calling for stronger settlement requirements. A final settlement with Hyundai and Kia must ensure consumers’ vehicles are properly equipped to protect against theft,” Raoul said. “I will continue to call for both car companies to do their part by taking robust action to prevent these thefts.”  

In its ruling, the federal court highlighted concerns raised by Raoul and the coalition regarding the effectiveness of the software upgrade, including that vehicles with the update are still susceptible to theft, some vehicles are incompatible with the software upgrade, and an insufficient number of vehicles have received the software upgrade to date. The court also held that a hearing may be needed for Hyundai and Kia to demonstrate the software upgrade’s technology, explain how it works, its deficiencies, and potential solutions.

In their letter to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Raoul and the coalition argued that the current proposed settlement requirements are insufficient and will not resolve the ongoing Hyundai and Kia thefts that continue to jeopardize public safety in Illinois and across the country. While Illinois is not part of this settlement, Raoul signed onto the letter because in 2022, there were over 7,000 Hyundai and Kia thefts in Chicago, which account for 10% of all registered Kia vehicles and 7% of all registered Hyundai vehicles in the city.

Among the terms of the settlement are that Hyundai and Kia require a key to be in the ignition to start the vehicle, as well as provide a software upgrade to extend the vehicles’ alarm from 30 seconds to one minute. For vehicles incompatible for this software upgrade, the settlement requires Hyundai and Kia to reimburse consumers up to $300 for their purchase of a wheel lock or anti-theft system. 

Raoul and the coalition expressed concern, saying the upgrade is not feasible for approximately 2.3 million vehicles, that it requires consumers to proactively seek out the upgrade, and that it will take months to complete all phases of the upgrade. Additionally, the attorneys general do not think the software upgrade is effective because in the six months it has been available, there are reports of Hyundai and Kia thefts in upgraded vehicles.