Chrysler Amends Policy on Product Liability Claims, May End GEMA

Joshua Duval

Chrysler said yesterday in a letter to Congress that it would begin accepting product liability claims filed before June 10, 2009, the day it emerged from its government-backed bankruptcy as a new organization.

Chrysler Group ("new Chrysler") purchased many of Old Carco's ("old Chrysler") assets on June 10, but initially decided only to accept liability claims filed with the new company - leaving anyone with claims filed before that date to fight for a piece of the old organization. According to a statement released by Chrysler, it now believes it can assume those liabilities without breaking the bank.

"We know a lot more about the viability of our business today than when we purchased Old Carco's assets in its bankruptcy proceedings several months ago," said Chrysler's Senior Vice President of External Affairs & Public Policy John Bozzella. "While Chrysler Group still faces challenges, we are confident that the future viability of the company will not be threatened if we accept these claims."

"We want our customers to feel comfortable and confident buying, driving and enjoying one of our vehicles," Bozzella said. "Chrysler Group vehicles meet or exceed all applicable federal safety standards and have excellent safety records."

Italian automaker Fiat was given a controlling stake in the new Chrysler, and it is wasting no time in changing the American company's operations. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Hyundai and Mitsubishi logos have been removed from the entrance to Chrysler's Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plant in Dundee, Michigan.

GEMA is a joint venture between the three automakers. The plant makes 1.8-, 2.0-, and 2.4-liter four-cylinder Hyundai-designed engines using Mitsubishi machinery. The $803-million, 1.16-million-square-foot plant went online in 2005.

Employees who asked to remain anonymous said that Chrysler executives have already voiced their intent to end the alliance. As one of the benefits of being owned by Fiat is access to its acclaimed small engines, the speculation doesn't seem too outlandish.

A Chrysler spokesperson would not confirm that the Hyundai and Mitsubishi logos have been removed or that the partnership is ending.

Source: The Detroit Free Press

This would make sense. I think automakers are starting to realize they cannot socialize their operations to the extent they were in the late 90's to present. It is time for Fiat/Chrysler to show the world that they don't have their hands in as many other automakers that they have to compete with in the US market.

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