Hyundai Motor America and Kia America have entered into an agreement to resolve class action litigation with owners of certain vehicles equipped with Theta II multi-port fuel injection (“MPI”) engines, Nu gasoline direct injection (“GDI”) engines, and Gamma GDI engines. This agreement will provide various cash compensation options, extended warranties, free inspection and repair of the covered engines for certain qualifying repairs, and installation of a software update Hyundai and Kia introduced to enhance safety and detection of potential engine failure.
Vehicles in the settlement include approximately 1.05 million Hyundai (2011-2019 Sonata Hybrid, 2016-2019 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, 2010-2012 Santa Fe, 2010-2021 Tucson, 2014 Elantra Coupe, 2014-2016 Elantra, 2014-2020 Elantra GT, and 2012-2017 Veloster) and 1.16 million Kia (2011-2020 Optima Hybrid, 2017-2020 Optima Plug-in Hybrid, 2011-2013 Sorento, 2011-2013 Sportage, 2010-2018 Forte, 2010-2016 Forte Koup, 2012-2019 Soul) vehicles with 2.4-liter Theta II MPI Hybrid, 2.4-liter Theta II MPI, 2.0-liter Nu GDI, 2.0-liter Nu GDI Hybrid & Plug-In Hybrid and 1.6-liter Gamma GDI engines.
Terms of the settlement include:
- Cash reimbursement for certain past repairs and related expenses, such as towing, rental cars, and other transportation costs;
- Cash compensation for certain past trade-ins and sales in lieu of certain repairs;
- Cash reimbursement for certain incidentals, such as towing, transportation, and, in some cases lodging and meals, for qualifying vehicle break-downs, depending on distance from residence;
- Free inspection and repair or replacement of damaged engines that are still within the duration of their 15-year or 150,000-mile extended warranty for certain qualifying engine repairs;
- Free installation of the Knock Sensor Detection System (KSDS) software update;
- Various goodwill compensation for customers inconvenienced by previous lengthy engine repair times, denied warranty coverage, vehicle loss due to qualifying fire, and trade-ins and sales due to loss of faith, among other provisions.
These class action lawsuits have been consolidated into In re: Hyundai and Kia Engine Litigation II, Case No. 8:18-cv-02223, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiffs in this action are represented by Matthew D. Schelkopf of Sauder Schelkopf, Gretchen Freeman Cappio of Keller Rohrback L.L.P., Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Adam R. Gonnelli of Law Office of Adam R. Gonnelli, L.L.C., and Bonner C. Walsh of Walsh PLLC.
Knock Sensor Detection System (“KSDS”) 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 and a limited engine speed of approximately 1,800 to 2,000 rpm. 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.