Attorney General puts his foot down- Chrysler drivers still entitled to state lemon law protection

Thanks to Attorney General, the drivers of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles will retain their Lemon Law rights to compensation for defects under a deal between U.S. states and Chrysler LLC’s new owners, Fiat Group SpA.

The Italian automaker takes over Chrysler as part of its reorganization. Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

The new Chrysler:

  • Is willing to honor warranties on vehicles sold before or after the bankruptcy
  • Chrysler says it will be responsible only for problems with vehicles sold after the bankruptcy for personal injury lawsuits
  • Shows a stance reduces current Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicle owners’s right to sue the automaker for injury-causing to a mere debate
  • Did not explicitly say that it would be responsible for future product-liability suits involving vehicles already sold
  • Was trying to avoid potential liability to current owners

Thanks to Attorney General, who with other state attorneys general, negotiated the national agreement with Fiat Group SpA before the Italian automaker takes over Chrysler and:

  • Drivers who own Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles will retain their Lemon Law rights to compensation for defects
  • Chrysler is also asked to honor a Florida law that requires automakers to buy back vehicles and parts when they terminate dealer franchises.
  • He also has filed a motion with the bankruptcy court opposing efforts to override such state laws: Chrysler has announced it plans to pull the franchises with 35 Florida dealers.

Florida’s Lemon Law requires:

  • Manufacturers to buy back or replace defective cars and trucks if they haven’t been fixed after a reasonable number of tries.
  • Applies to new and demonstration vehicles and those under long-term leases, protecting them for 24 months after delivery.

Thanks to Attorney General, the latest Florida Lemon Law report for 2007 showed that Chrysler:

  • Is leading the automakers with 295 cases approved for arbitration as the 35 percent of the total
  • Is accounted for 45 percent of all full settlements.
  • Tied Ford for most liability awards by the state’s arbitration panel as the 39, or 23 percent of a total of 171

However, Chrysler’s willingness to comply with the lemon laws sounds bizarre because bankruptcies are generally used as a ploy to get rid of existing, tangible debts, and try to prevent future obligations.

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