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2 more class actions launched against Hyundai, Kia

Two more class actions have been launched against Hyundai and Kia, after allegations that the motor companies sold vehicles that they knew were defective.

user iconLauren Croft 17 February 2023 Big Law
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On Wednesday (15 February), Johnson Winter Slattery filed two class actions in the Federal Court relating to defective engines in a number of Hyundai and Kia vehicles sold in Australia from 2011 to date.

The lead claimants, who purchased their Hyundai and Kia vehicles new and suffered total engine failures, are pursuing these actions on behalf of owners of an estimated half a million affected vehicles.

This news follows a string of class actions against motor companies over the last year, with Hino Motors facing three separate class actions, “one of the biggest claims in Australia’s legal history” filed against Toyota for the alleged tampering with emissions control systems to improve the performance of diesel engines, and class actions filed against the respective parent companies of Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific and BMW Australia for the alleged installation of “cheat devices”.


Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has previously lodged a class action against Hyundai with the Supreme Court of Victoria and started preparing a similar case against Kia with similar allegations in January this year.

The class actions against the motor companies allege owners suffered loss and damage after Hyundai and Kia breached consumer laws after defective Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) rendered some of the Korean manufacturers’ most popular models potential fire hazards.

The actions launched by JWS on Wednesday allege that numerous vehicles sold by Hyundai and Kia in Australia were offered for sale with engines that were manufactured or designed defectively and, as a result, have the propensity to exhibit faults, including sudden loss of power (including while driving), increased oil and fuel consumption, emission of smoke, and in some cases, fire.

These class actions are being funded by Woodsford and, according to the firm, are distinct — and relate to entirely different issues and a wider group of vehicles — than the Maurice Blackburn class actions, which commenced in the Supreme Court recently.

Hyundai and Kia are accused of knowing of the engine issues since at least 2015 but continued to sell affected vehicles in Australia, according to Woodsford chief investment officer Charlie Morris.

“The myriad of defects with these cars is bad enough. But the fact that Hyundai and Kia knew about the defects these cars had, but continued to sell them regardless is unacceptable,” he said.

“We are determined to hold them to account and ensure that Australian consumers receive the compensation they are due.”

JWS partner Robert Johnston added: “We are pleased to have been selected to run this important case, which raises serious issues regarding the reliability and safety of a very large number of vehicles sold to the Australian public, when Hyundai and Kia were in the process of recalling millions of vehicles overseas for similar engine issues.”