KIA car owners receive class action settlement after vehicle thefts

KIA car owners receive class action settlement after vehicle thefts

KIA drivers received a class action settlement in the mail after several models did not have engine immobilizers leading to an increase of car thefts.

KIA car owners are receiving packets in the mail about a KIA class action settlement. Several models are at risk for car theft due to a manufacturing error.

Part of the class action settlement includes reimbursements to the owners of the impacted cars for any theft-related expenses. Although for any KIA owners that did not have their car stolen, they received a free software upgrade.

The manufacturing error of the KIA models was not having the engine immobilizer. However, this issue goes as far back as 2011 for some vehicles. Some of the models with the issue are the KIA Optima, Rio, Soul, Sedona, and Sportage.

David Ulrich, a St. Paul resident, is one of many KIA car owners who had his car stolen. He said one of the biggest issues in the aftermath was dealing with insurance.

“My insurance agent told me that this is such a big deal that he sees rates going up everywhere next year,” Ulrich said. “He said a couple very large insurers are not going to even insure these vehicles anymore, because it’s just too risky. So those people are really going to be hurt if they can’t get insurance.”

Ulrich said his car was stolen in the middle of the afternoon while having lunch with his family. As soon as he saw it was missing he called the St. Paul Police Department aware of his missing vehicle.

“I got in touch with the police department, and they found the car four days later in north Minneapolis. With just under $13,000 worth of damage to it and two 15-year-old girls driving.” Ulrich said. “As the weeks unfolded, I was busy getting the car repaired and everything. It took almost three months to get the car back.

When someone steals your car is a nightmare, especially when it’s you’re only mode of transportation. Ulrich said he’s taking precautions so it won’t happen again.

“I highly recommend the club. They make two versions that I know of,” Ulrich said. “One has a single hook on each and it hooks on the steering wheel. The one I got has a double hook, which I think is a little more secure.”

While David’s car was stolen in St. Paul, have their been any KIA models stolen in Duluth? Mattie Hjelseth the Public Information Officer of the Duluth Police Department said there are no KIA models thefts this year. However, she advises to keep these safety tips in mind.

“In 2024, the Duluth Police Department has responded to 13 reports of motor vehicle thefts. A few things that you can keep in mind to prevent the theft of your motor vehicle is parking on well-lit Street. Make sure you lock your car and your windows. That’s a good tip. Keep your valuables hidden or in your trunk or just take your valuables out of the car as well.”

But what if someone steals or breaks into your car? What steps should you take?

“Report that right away. You should definitely call 911. Have a police officer come over there, take the report and we’ll put on our radar and hopefully get that vehicle back to you.”

For more information on how to prevent car theft, you can read more here. Also for other another story about the KIA and Hyundai thefts, you can read more here.