Fla. AG says Chrysler drivers still covered by Lemon Laws under states’ deal with Fiat

Chrysler drivers still covered by state Lemon Laws

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Drivers who own 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, Attorney General Bill McCollum said Wednesday.

McCollum said he and other state attorneys general negotiated the national agreement with Fiat Group SpA before the Italian automaker takes over Chrysler as part of the Michigan-based automaker’s reorganization. Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

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. It applies to new and demonstration vehicles and those under long-term leases, protecting them for 24 months after delivery.

The latest Florida Lemon Law report for 2007 showed Chrysler led all automakers with 295 cases approved for arbitration — 35 percent of the total.

Chrysler accounted for 45 percent of all full settlements. The company also tied Ford for most liability awards by the state’s arbitration panel — 39, or 23 percent of a total of 171.

McCollum also has asked Chrysler to honor a Florida law that requires auto makers 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.

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