20/5/2023–|Last Updated: 20/5/202303:35 PM (Makkah Time)
South Korean automaker Hyundai plans to pay up to $200 million in compensation to owners of US-made cars after a series of thefts and accidents stemming from a viral challenge on TikTok.
Aiming to end the class action lawsuits, the company reached an agreement to compensate about 9 million owners of Hyundai and Kia cars manufactured between 2011 and 2022, including models such as the Tucson, Santa Fe and Elantra. ”, according to the company statement.
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A TikTok challenge called “Kia Challenge” (Kia Challenge) started on the popular platform in 2022 after thieves known by the nickname “Kia Boys” showed in a video how to drive some cars very easily.
It’s challenging for teenagers to steal a car off the street, break it into pieces, take apart the steering column and connect hot wires to it using a USB cable, all within 20 to 30 seconds.
Los Angeles officials reported to CNBC that the challenge led to an 85% increase in thefts of Kia and Hyundai cars compared to 2021, with similar incidents occurring in several states.
Additionally, “the event led to at least 14 traffic accidents and 8 fatalities,” according to the US Highway Safety Agency.
Last February, the commission announced that Hyundai and Kia would cover the costs of the anti-theft program by offering a free immobilizer system to millions of cars.
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According to the agreement announced on Thursday, the carmaker will compensate those whose cars are stolen or damaged and who are not covered under the insurance contract.
TikTok, owned by China’s “ByteDance” group, is facing problems in the United States in light of calls from several elected officials from the right and left to ban the app in the country.
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