Dear Driving for Dollars,
I tried to trade in my Chrysler Sebring, and the dealer told me he had to give me well below book value because the car’s value was worth less because Chrysler wasn’t accepting liability on it now that it has gone through bankruptcy. Is that true?
I hope this wasn’t a Chrysler dealer you were trying to work with! The dealer is referring to the fact that as part of the bankruptcy process, Chrysler had to sell most, but not all, of the “old” Chrysler assets to the “new” Chrysler, with approval of the bankruptcy court. As part of that sale, the “new” Chrysler only accepted liability for cars sold by the new company. That left the owners of all the cars sold by the “old” Chrysler — those sold prior to June 10, 2009 — without the ability to file lawsuits stating that Chrysler, not the owners or drivers, was liable for accidents, injuries and the like, because of a vehicle defect. However, this was only temporary.
On Aug. 27 of this year, the “new” Chrysler announced that it would indeed accept product liability claims for vehicles that were manufactured by the “old” Chrysler. The announcement essentially covers all Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, regardless of when they were built. It’s similar to the approach that General Motors took after it emerged from bankruptcy.
So, if you still have your car, you might make a trip back to that dealer (or another one) and see about that trade-in.
If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars.