For Immediate Release
June 4, 2009
Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter C.L. Roth
On Monday June 1, 2009, the bankruptcy court in New York approved the sale of Chrysler's automobile manufacturing operations to a consortium led by the Italian automaker Fiat. NH Attorney General Kelly Ayotte is pleased to note that the sale order expressly provides that consumer warranty claims and Lemon Law claims will be assumed by the new Chrysler.
Attorney General Ayotte worked with a number of states including Connecticut, Florida, New York, Ohio and California to ensure that the sale order included the warranty and Lemon Law protections. As originally proposed, the sale order excluded Lemon Law cases which would have left many consumers with unprotected warranty claims. Negotiations with representatives of the states and Chrysler, Fiat and the US Treasury's Auto Task Force were successful in ensuring that the new Chrysler was not allowed to shed the Lemon Law complaints of consumers. According to Ayotte, under the court order, the "New Chrysler" company must recognize, honor and pay liabilities under Lemon Laws on vehicles manufactured by Chrysler in the five years before the sale to Fiat.
The court order also provides that the "New" Chrysler continue addressing most Lemon Law claims using the same or substantially similar procedural mechanisms previously utilized by Chrysler.
Attorney General Ayotte also participated in objections to Chrysler's request to have the bankruptcy court allow it to terminate a large number of dealership franchises through the bankruptcy process and in disregard of state laws regulating auto dealership franchise termination. "Termination of dealerships could have significant disruptive effects on local businesses and losses of job by New Hampshire residents," Ayotte said. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for June 9th.
The NH Attorney General's Office is also closely monitoring the General Motors bankruptcy to protect the rights of New Hampshire's consumers and auto dealers.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301