Hyundai last month consented to a $200 million payout to settle a class action lawsuit that stemmed from a car theft challenge trending on TikTok. The settlement was designed to compensate around $145 million to U.S owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles who suffered theft or attempted theft damage. However, the settlement did not conclude the matter. The city of New York has declared its intention to file a lawsuit against the automaker, accusing it of negligence and constituting a public nuisance.
The city alleges that Hyundai consciously decided to compromise public safety in the pursuit of profits by deliberately neglecting to include standard anti-theft technology in specific U.S models of Hyundai and Kia cars. New York City claims this omission was a market-based decision as Hyundai and Kia models in Europe and Canada come equipped with vehicle immobilizers because they are mandated by local regulations.
This negligence, the city argues, led to a surge in thefts following the TikTok-fueled “Kia Challenge” earlier in the year. This challenge showcased how certain Hyundai vehicles could be easily hot-wired using just a USB cord.
The repercussions, according to the city, were dramatic, marked by a whopping 660% rise in Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts during the initial four months of 2023, compared to the same period the previous year. The city further asserts that this led to not only a rise in theft reports but also precipitated other safety concerns, including reckless driving and violent confrontations between thieves and car owners. These incidents, the city claims, have made New York City less safe and imposed undue stress on police resources. The city is demanding a jury trial and seeks both punitive and compensatory damages.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hyundai negligence lawsuit TikTok car thefts
Why is New York City suing Hyundai?
New York City is suing Hyundai for negligence and being a public nuisance. The city claims that the automaker chose to compromise public safety in the interest of profits by neglecting to include standard anti-theft technology in specific U.S. models of Hyundai and Kia cars. This alleged omission led to a surge in car thefts following a viral TikTok challenge, resulting in a range of safety concerns and burdening police resources.
What was the result of Hyundai’s alleged negligence?
New York City reports a drastic 660% increase in Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts during the first four months of 2023 compared to the same period the previous year. This led not only to a rise in theft reports but also precipitated other safety concerns, including reckless driving and violent altercations between thieves and car owners. These incidents have allegedly made New York City less safe and imposed undue stress on police resources.
What was the TikTok challenge that allegedly led to the surge in car thefts?
The “Kia Challenge” that went viral on TikTok earlier in the year showed how certain Hyundai vehicles could be easily hot-wired using just a USB cord. This trend is believed to have contributed significantly to the rise in car thefts.
What does New York City hope to achieve with the lawsuit?
New York City is demanding a jury trial and seeks both punitive and compensatory damages from Hyundai. The city is also likely aiming to ensure that the company takes responsibility for its alleged negligence, with the goal of preventing similar incidents in the future.