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Kia, Hyundai owners could get cut of $145 million settlement in lawsuit over thefts

Kia, Hyundai settle lawsuit over theft vulnerability for $145 million
Kia, Hyundai settle lawsuit over theft vulnerability for $145 million 01:57

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Owners of Kias and Hyundais may finally get some help against theft – thanks to a $145 million settlement in a significant lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim Kia and Hyundai failed to put theft-deterrent devices in some models, making it easier to steal them.

Charles Malnarick's Kia is one of the nearly 9 million eligible for the settlement. Keys, not a key fob, are needed to start his 2017 Kia, which stays in the garage with the Club anti-theft device on the steering wheel.

A sticker also lets the crooks know his car has an anti-theft immobilizer installed by the dealership.

But even that did not stop thieves.

"A week later, the car was stolen - after I had it installed," Malnarick said.

Kia and Hyundai settled a class-action lawsuit after claims the carmakers failed to install theft-deterrent devices in key-start vehicles from 2011 until 2022.

"I don't want to get it stolen again because it's going to cost me money," said Malnarick.

Malnarick is among the 9 million owners who could get a reimbursement check ranging from $250 up to $3,375, depending on the claim.

Owners could get $3,375 for partial reimbursement for total losses, $375 for an insurance-related reimbursement, or $250 for other expenses.

"It cost the insurance company $7,500 to fix my car after it was stolen," Malnarick said.

Based on how much he'll get out of the settlement, Malnarick said, "We'll have to wait and see."

Kia and Hyundai are still standing by their vehicles. The companies added that they ended the matter because they were sick of the ongoing allegations. People should blame the thieves, not the manufacturers, they said.

But Malnarick believes the manufacturer does deserve some blame.

"The ignition immobilizers, they should've had that installed at the factory," he said.

Malnarick and others say the crisis began once word got out that Kias and Hyundais were easy to steal.

Now, he is waiting to see whether he receives any settlement money.

Anyone who bought or leased a Kia or Hyundai from 2011 until 2022 should be eligible for some money. The affected drivers will be notified next week with instructions on submitting a claim.

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