Chrysler Accepts Reponsibility For Pre-Bankruptcy Vehicles

August 28, 2009
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Generally speaking, bankruptcy has been a good thing for Chrysler. It's allowed the company to unload massive debt and streamline operations. But for others -- especially the owners of 31 million Chrysler vehicles manufactured before June 10, 2009 (the end of Chrysler's bankruptcy proceedings) -- the reorganization has proven significantly less awesome.

As per the restructuring arrangements, liability for Chrysler vehicles made before June 10 was left in the hands of Old Carco (the legal and painfully unimaginative name for "Bad Chrysler"). Consumers who had issues with such vehicles could, of course, sue Old Carco, but since all of Chrysler's decent assets were transferred to Chrysler Group (a.k.a. "Good Chrysler"), plaintiffs couldn't expect much in the way of restitution. To Congress, the general public, and most of your TCC staff, the situation was an outrage.

Now, in response to complaints from all quarters, Chrysler Group has finally agreed to accept product liability claims on vehicles built before June 10. Trying to put a good and proactive spin on the dramatic about-face, the company's senior vice president for external affairs and public policy, John Bozzella, sent a letter to Congress saying, "While Chrysler Group still faces challenges, we are confident today that the future viability of the company will not be threatened if we assume these obligations." Which could be translated as "Thank you for your patience during this arduous period in our company's history. We've had time to get our bearings and are eager to move forward." Or, less generously, "Yo, dude, we totally meant to do that."

Consumer groups and most of your TCC staff are thrilled to hear the news. Fiat, on the other hand, is likely less than overjoyed.


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