Baron & Budd Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Hyundai, Kia, and ZF-TRW Automotive for Fraud and Concealment of Deadly Airbag Control Unit Defect Impacting 12.5 Million Vehicles

The national law firms of Baron & Budd and Lieff Cabraser today announced that the firms have filed a class action lawsuit against Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motor America, and ZF-TRW Automotive Holding Corp., over allegedly defective vehicle airbags that fail to operate during crashes due to electrical overstress (EOS). The suit was filed on April 29, 2019, in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California “ Southern Division (Case 8:19-cv-00782).

The Complaint alleges that a defect in the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) built into the airbags causes a failure in the Airbag Control Unit (ACU) that prevents the airbags and the seat belt pretensioners from deploying. Additionally, the Complaint alleges ZF-TRW, Hyundai, and Kia learned about the ACU defect as early as 2011, but did not take any steps to protect customers or directly warn consumers about the dangerous products until 2018. The suit further alleges that the manufacturers also failed to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the defect until 2015.

The complaint goes on to detail, Even after advising NHTSA in 2015, each of these companies downplayed the severity and frequency of these non-deployment crashes. It was not until February and June of 2018 that Hyundai and Kia, respectively, issued product recalls as to a small segment of their vehicles.

The defective ZF-TRW airbags were also supplied to other vehicle manufacturers, including Toyota/Acura, Honda, Fiat Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Jeep, and Mitsubishi.

For nearly a decade, unsuspecting U.S. consumers bought millions of vehicles with allegedly defective airbags and seat belt pretensioners, placing them and their loved ones in serious danger, said Roland Tellis, head of the Consumer Class Action group at the national law firm of Baron & Budd. The alleged conduct of these three corporations was not only incredibly deceptive, it also placed drivers and their passengers at a substantially higher risk of injury or death. The auto industry needs to know that any time they place short-term profits over consumer safety and vehicle safety standards, there will be real, tangible consequences. Our team intends to fight vigorously to hold these companies responsible for the damages we allege.

Tellis previously filed the first defective airbag case against Takata and several automakers resulting in a class action settlement of approximately $1.5 billion.

The impacted Class Vehicles include the following makes and models: Kia Forte 2013; Kia Forte Koup 2013; Kia Optima 2013-2019; Kia Optima Hybrid 2012-2016; Kia Sedona 2014; Hyundai Sonata 2013-2019; and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 2013-2019.

The specific claims in the suit include: fraud; fraudulent concealment; violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO); violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act; unjust enrichment; violation of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act for Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability, and violation of the California Unfair Competition Law. The lawsuit seeks class certification as well as other legal remedies including an order to prevent Hyundai and Kia from conducting further deceptive distribution, sales, and leases; an award to plaintiffs and the class members of compensatory, exemplary, and punitive damages; and an award for the return of the purchase price of the affected vehicles.

If you own one of the vehicles listed in the lawsuit and would like additional information, please call 866-782-6896 or visit


Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs law firms in the country. With more than 40-years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, motor vehicles, employment, and other consumer fraud issues.

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