Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with seven attorneys general, is urging a 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.
In a letter to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Raoul and the coalition argue 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.
“I am urging the court to strengthen its current settlement with Hyundai and Kia to ensure consumers’ vehicles are recalled or properly equipped to protect against theft,” Raoul said. “I remain committed to protecting consumers and our communities, and both car companies need to do their part by taking robust action to prevent these thefts.”
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.
Joining Raoul in submitting the comments were attorneys general from the District of Columbia, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.