• Jul 8, 2009
When Chrysler was in Chapter 11, the U.S. bankruptcy court decided that the new Pentastar would be free of any liability for accidents that involve Chrysler-branded products sold prior the bankruptcy. Automotive News is reporting that five consumer groups are looking to get the word out that used Chrysler products will not be eligible for such liability claims by putting a warning sticker on each and every used Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep that is for sale.

The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the petition, which states that consumers who purchase a used Chrysler vehicle risk "being held responsible for millions of dollars in medical expenses, hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income and other losses – with no possibility of recompense – even if their injury was clearly Chrysler's fault." Under the current plan, customers looking to sue Chrysler for defective product concerns will have to go after old Chrysler, which is broke, bankrupt, and doomed.

Chrysler, of course, is against the petition, as the warning may harm a dealer's ability to sell used Chrysler-branded products. In an email to Automotive News, Chrysler spokesman Michael Palese wrote "In Chrysler's bankruptcy, the ability to form a new company free from the product liability burden of the old company was essential to the new company's survival." Palese also mentions that the petition has also uncovered no new defects or safety issues.

Automotive News is also reporting that General Motors has worked out a deal with state attorneys general to consider claims as long as they were submitted after the automaker's bankruptcy.

[Source: Automotive News - subs req'd | Image: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      "being held responsible for millions of dollars in medical expenses, hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income and other losses – with no possibility of recompense – even if their injury was clearly Chrysler's fault."

      If a lawyer were writing this it would say "even if it's not in anyway Chrysler's fault." Because that is how they think.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm sounds like a great idea, while were at it let's put warning labels on Ferrari's too since they seem to spontaneously combust and burst into flames.

      Aren't there warning labels on everything now a days even things like peanut butter? Can't we put warning labels on the stupid drivers out there that cut us off, run red lights, and run out of blinker fluid instead?

      --RS
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah about the warning labels on bad drivers...I believe a day or two ago there was a mom wanting to put "CAUTION" stickers on newly licensed drivers cars. This warning label idea is right up her ally.

        But seriously, I don't like the idea of giving this "new" Chrysler, or even the "new" GM for that matter, a get out of jail free card for any lawsuit based on the "old" company. I can understand Chapter 11 and freebie you get not having to pay off debt, but if a product happens to kill or injure someone, and your company is to blame, that is a totally different issue than owing a supplier 15,000,000 dollars. Your company isn't different, new, or reformed, its still that company just with a bankruptcy monkey strapped on its back.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The warning is not because vehicles are inherently dangerous, it is because "new" Chrysler, like "new" GM has been afforded the luxury of shedding any and all prior products liability claims. It's not that cars are dangerous, it's that if you buy a car made by "old" Chysler and/or GM, you cannot bring a products liability suit - no matter how valid your claim may be. This means an individual purchaser/driver will be stuck with any resulting damages, perhaps with some help from insurance coverage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think there was a mistake with the pricing on the Chrysler in the photo.
      It should be $1,599 not $15,991
      • 5 Years Ago
      sneaky fa-wks trying to get away with it...and on top of that to know the government approve such a move hmmmmm who's the lesser of 2 evils?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe it's just me, but when I buy a used car, the concept of holding the manufacturer liable is assinine. That's why it is a USED car....

      Just more crap from a bunch of whiney people who are bound and determined to see Chrysler die...because that is SOOOOo much better than having them recover and become profitable (read:pay off gov't loans) and employ more people.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So hypothetically if a company intentionally didn't fix a design defect because they figured the lawsuits would cost less than redesigning the defective parts and the issue was not publicly known before the company entered bankruptcy. In the bankruptcy these liabilities for the older cars with the intentionally unfixed defects were removed from the new company. You see no problem with this what so ever?

        Consider the Ford Pinto, Ford never went bankrupt however the car pretty well matches this scenario. If Ford did go bankrupt and then your car went up in flames with you in it I'm sure you would have a change of heart.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "spokesman Michael Palese wrote "In Chrysler's bankruptcy, the ability to form a new company free from the product liability burden of the old company was essential to the new company's survival.""

      How does this in anyway argue against the warning labels? This is just a fluffy PR statement with no bearing on the question at hand.

      Yes, the buyer should be made aware of this fact when considering a used car. Bad PR or not for Chrysler, it is the truth and something that the fought for in their bankruptsy. It is the mess that Chrysler itself created in the first place.
      raaeeevo1
      • 5 Years Ago
      Have you driven a FORD lately???????
        • 5 Years Ago
        @raaeeevo1
        Not after my last one broke down at a stoplight in a busy intersection. Sad but true...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another issue is going to be liability insurance that the customer has to buy.
      A prime rule of torts is to gø after deep pockets...the customers liability insurance is often inadequate so the injured party usually goes after the manufacturer for obvious faults or defects. If the manufacturer is held free, the customer might consider purchasing a multi-million dollar liability policy...but given that OLD Chrysler is a turnip (can't get blood...etc.) the cost of such a policy might be unaffordable. So DOWN go Old Chrysler car values...including those yummy new challengers, etc.
      Still, I'd buy an SRT8 Jeep and take my chances...LOL!
      • 5 Years Ago
      "In Chrysler's bankruptcy, the ability to form a new company free from the product liability burden of the old company was essential to the new company's survival"

      Hello!?! It could also be looked at another way... The new companies survival depends on product...if you wont back up your OLD product why would I trust ANY product from you?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You hit the nail on the head.

        It is pretty simple. Every buyer should be read that statement by "New Chrysler". To me it says that they feel their own recent lineup is that flawed that they were worried lawsuits would pull them under. I can't think of a better reason NOT to buy a used Chrysler and I would think twice about buying a new product from a "new" company that would do that to it's customers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yet another reason why I'm thankful we decided to lease our 300 instead of buying it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Time to change their name to Crashler.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems to me if I'm a dealer, I sell an Old Chrysler product, and I don't disclose that there's no recourse for product liability claims, then I'd be a big fat target for plaintiffs' lawyers.
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