It’s Friday at the end of what’s felt like a long week. Maybe we all just miss Mercedes [Editor’s Note: Why is this a “maybe”? -DT]? She’s out playing with Toyotas in Hawaii. Whatever the reason, we’ve got a nice mix of stories to bring you in today’s morning news roundup. We’re starting, of course, with the Hyundai-Kia settlement, but the last story is something so happy it’ll make you smile all the way to the weekend.
I’ll give you a hint:
Good News If You Own One Of Those Kias Or Hyundais The TikTok Teens Love To Steal
Did you know that The Autopian has a brand new TikTok page? Please follow us before the app is banned everywhere, leading to the surprise election of single-issue candidate Selena Gomez (for the record this is not Selena Gomez shade, I’m a big “Selena + Chef” fan and also “Only Murders in the Building.” Please do not come for me Selena stans).
A funny thing about TikTok is that it’s great for short tutorials. For instance, last year a bunch of young people on TikTok figured out how to steal Hyundais and Kias with just a USB drive (and a screwdriver or other prying device). It turns out, Hyundai and Kia didn’t offer immobilizers on their lower spec cars (like my parent’s Kia Soul). This led some insurance companies to refuse to insure these vehicles. There’s a fix, apparently, but it’s been slow to rollout.
At the same time, the inevitable lawsuits began, and Hyundai and Kia have settled for a little over $200 million to help make those lawsuits go away.
Automotive News has the details on how people impacted by the car theft spree will be remunerated:
A large portion of the settlement, $145 million, will go toward out-of-pocket losses experienced by owners, including vehicles lost or stolen, vehicles that incurred damages, loss of personal property and insurance-related expenses, according to attorneys.
Steve Berman, managing partner at the Hagens Berman law firm in Seattle and lead attorney in the lawsuit, said in a statement that they “worked to achieve a settlement that covers many types of losses — from those who were lucky enough to have never had their theft-prone car stolen, to those whose stolen cars were totaled completely due to Hyundai and Kia’s negligence.”
A spokesperson for Kia confirmed the settlement and said in a statement the company is “pleased” to resolve the class-action litigation.
If your car was stolen or your insurance went up, hold onto all the related documents!
Congress Wants To Save The AM Radio
I’m a big fan of FM and satellite radio. While I mostly listen to Apple Music, I enjoy the curation. Radio, it’s a sound salvation. Radio, it’s cleaning up the nation! Radio, it’s not a legal requirement to have in cars… yet!
In a rare bit of bipartisanship in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans are pushing to keep AM radio in cars at no cost to consumers. Here’s a copy of the bill if you’re curious. Here’s the AP summary if you’re not used to reading legislation. Basically, it means that automakers have to keep AM radio in their cars and, if the cars predate the mandate, to let buyers know. Currently, both Ford and Tesla have dropped AM radios.
Ok, so, why are the automakers doing this? Again, from the AP:
Supporters of preserving AM radio in cars cite public safety concerns. The bill’s sponsors note AM radio’s historic role in transmitting vital information during emergencies, such as communication during natural disasters, especially to people in rural areas
“Carmakers shouldn’t tune out AM radio in new vehicles or put it behind a costly digital paywall,” Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement. He added that the bill aims to “ensure that this resilient and popular communication tool does not become a relic of the past.”
Ok, what about the automakers?
“This is simply a bill to prop up and give preference to a particular technology that’s now competing with other communications options and adapting to changing listenership,” the alliance said, while adding that automakers are committed to ensuring drivers have access to public alerts and safety warnings.
I don’t know, automakers, I think you better do as told. I think you better preserve the radio.
Time For Some Ferrari Drama
John Elkann, the chairman of both Ferrari and Stellantis (along with two of his sibling), is apparently suing his mom over his inheritance. Awkward.
This all goes back to Gianni Agnelli, the legendary head of Fiat who turned the company (and the country of Italy) around after WWII. His daughter Margherita inherited about $1.3 billion from the estate and agreed to split that up between three of her children. Margherita, though, had five other kids with her second husband, and she’s trying to make sure they’re not going to get cut out.
Reuters does a fantastic job of going through all the twists-and-turns of the deal, and this is mostly just me telling you to go read that story. This has been going on for 15 years and may finally come to some resolution, maybe, in the coming weeks. There’s a catch, though, because there are cases happening both in Switzerland and Italy!
The Happiest Story You’ll Read All Day
I like Bentley. The brand makes some nice cars. I once went to a party at one of the auto shows Bentley threw and Solange was there, so I got to see Solange sing to like 12 people. It was fantastic.
Bentley also has bees! As part of the company’s move to make the HQ in Crewe, England more environmentally friendly, it’s created an apiary to make honey. I bet it’s amazing honey.
Also, Bentley gave it the most Bentley name possible: The Excellence Centre for Honey Production.
I love that name. Currently, Bentley has 600,000 bees but, in honor of World Bee Day, they’re going to upgrade to 1 million bees. 1 million bees, y’all! That’s a lot of bees:
“Our Bentley Bees have been at our site for almost five years, producing over 2,000 jars of honey for our extraordinary colleagues and customers. We hope that by installing seven new hives, in addition to ten hives already in place at our Excellence Centre for Honey Production, we can further enhance our positive impact on the local environment as part of a wider sustainability programme. This is to ensure Bentley remains a significant contributor to local biodiversity and adds to our ambition to be the leaders in sustainable luxury mobility.”
In partnership with ‘Buckley Bees’, Bentley installed a colony of 120,000 indigenous honey bees as part of British marque’s #GOTOZERO sustainable strategy. This year, the colony will now grow to over one million bees across 17 active bee hives at the company’s headquarters. The Crewe-based manufacturer, hopes that in 2023 Bentley can surpass last year’s record honey harvest, where the bees produced over 1,000 jars of honey whilst helping to pollinate the on-site flora and bring wider benefits to the surrounding Cheshire countryside.
The Big Question
When was the last time you listened to AM radio? What did you listen to?
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- Here’s Why The Rare Mauck MSV 1120S Is The Supercar Of Buses
- It Turns Out You Can Still Buy Brand New Rad Kaminari Body Kits From The ’80s And ’90s
Photos: Kia, Bentley, Giphy, HBO
The bees bit is awesome!
The last time I listened to am radio was during a road trip through the mountains where there was no reception and needed to check on road conditions ahead.
I was always great at spelling bees.
B E E S
Holy shit. Just… wow. That must’ve been the best press junket ever.