ORANGE COUNTY. CA
Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America resolve engine litigation
Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America have entered into an agreement to resolve class action litigation with owners of certain vehicles equipped with Theta II gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines. This agreement will provide various cash compensation options, lifetime warranties, free inspection and repair of the covered engines, and installation of a software update Hyundai and Kia introduced after the case was filed to enhance safety and address this engine’s performance. It also provides additional remedies to address engine concerns and assist customers with these vehicles.
Vehicles in the settlement include 2.3 million Hyundai (2011-2019 Sonata, 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Santa Fe, and 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019 Tucson) and 1.8 million Kia (2011-2019 model year Sportage, Sorento and Optima) vehicles with 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter GDI engines.
Terms of the settlement include:
Cash reimbursement for certain past repairs and related expenses, such as towing and rental cars
Cash compensation for certain past trade-ins, sales, and in lieu of certain repairs;
Free inspection and repair or replacement of damaged engines
Lifetime warranty coverage for short block assembly repairs for original and subsequent owners
Free installation of the knock sensor detection system software update
Various goodwill compensation for customers inconvenienced by previous lengthy engine repair times, denied warranty coverage, and vehicle loss of value, among other provisions
The Court is expected to review the proposed settlement for preliminary approval in October 2019. Assuming preliminary approval is granted, notices will be sent to individual class members pursuant to the terms of the settlement.
These class action lawsuits are In re: Hyundai and Kia Engine Litigation, Case No. 8:17-cv-00838, and Flaherty v. Hyundai Motor Company, et al., Case No. 18-cv-02223, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiffs in these two actions are represented by Matthew D. Schelkopf of Sauder Schelkopf, Adam Gonnelli of The Sultzer Law Group, Bonner Walsh of Walsh PLLC, and Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.
Knock Sensor Detection System Software Update
Each of these vehicles is part of an ongoing product improvement campaign to install an engine monitoring technology called a knock sensor detection system. The technology uses software innovations and leverages existing engine sensors to continuously monitor for symptoms that may precede an engine failure. It is installed free of charge for all vehicles in the settlement by Hyundai and Kia dealers.
The knock sensor detection system software continuously monitors engine vibrations for unusual dynamic patterns that develop as an engine connecting rod bearing wears abnormally in a way that could later cause engine seizure. If vibrations caused by bearing wear start to occur, the malfunction indicator lamp will blink continuously and the vehicle will be placed in a temporary engine protection mode with reduced power and acceleration. In this temporary mode, drivers maintain full control of the vehicle as brakes, steering and safety devices such as airbags remain operational.
The vehicle can continue to be operated for a limited time in engine protection mode to enable the customer to safely drive it to a dealer for inspection and repair, but acceleration will be slower, with a reduced maximum speed of approximately 60 to 65 mph and a limited engine speed of approximately 1,800 to 2,000 rpm. The knock sensor technology has been evaluated by an independent, leading engineering and scientific consulting firm. When tested using a fleet of vehicles specifically prepared to test the knock sensor technology, the knock sensor system successfully detected failing connecting rod bearings and responded with activation of the engine protection mode.