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'Smart' keys and car theft: Several automakers targeted by class action demand

'Smart' keys and car theft: Several automakers targeted by class action demand

Car manufacturers must compensate people whose cars were stolen due to a security flaw in their “smart” key and recall all vehicles still at risk, a new class action report says.

The application to authorize the class action, which targets several automakers including Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Mazda, was filed earlier this month in a Quebec court.

This concerns any person residing in the governorate who has been the victim of theft of a vehicle equipped with a “personal electronic key access and start system.” Key fob (…) manufactured or imported and marketed in Quebec” within the past three years.

However, this technology has made car theft easy for thugs, who use equipment to pick up the key signal remotely. They can then start the car and take off without having to force the lock.

Remember, car thefts jumped by 57.9% in Quebec between 2021 and 2023, according to the anti-insurance fraud organization, Équité Association.

This scourge affects not only the victims, but all motorists since Quebec car insurance premiums jumped by $105 on average last year.

Lack of information

Prosecutor Andre Lacroix was himself among the victims. In 2022, the retired engineer owned a Toyota Highlander that he had purchased four years earlier and was equipped with the famous stolen “smart key.”

It is alleged in the application that Mr. Lacroix was never informed of the security flaw in the technology. The instruction manual was then specified, and it did not mention any danger either. It even has a notice stating that this system is “designed to help prevent vehicle theft.”

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“Defendants should have taken steps to reduce security risks and make the electronic keys resistant to theft, but they failed to do so,” the document later stated.


So Mr. Lacroix and his prosecutors want the targeted automakers to be held liable for stealing group members' cars due to “design errors and contributed information.”

They are also demanding that each member of the class action be compensated up to $1,500, as well as punitive damages of $1,500 per vehicle marketed in Quebec for three years.

Finally, they are asking automakers to recall vulnerable vehicles “in order to update the access and ignition system with a personal electronic key.”

List of automakers targeted by the class action request

Toyota Canada

Honda Canada

Hyundai Motor Company Canada

Nissan Canada

Mazda Canada

Canadian General Motors Corporation

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of Canada

Ford Canada

Audi Canada

BMW Canada

Jaguar Land Rover Canada

Kia Canada

Mercedes Benz Canada

Mitsubishi car sales from Canada

Porsche Motors Canada

Subaru Canada

Volkswagen Group Canada

Volvo cars canada