Chrysler Group has changed its mind and will now accept liability for cars manufactured before the company emerged from bankruptcy on June 10, the automaker told Congress in a letter Thursday.
The announcement follows complaints by consumer groups and attorneys that the newly formed Chrysler company was shirking responsibility for accidents caused by defects in its pre-bankruptcy vehicles.
"We want our customers to feel comfortable and confident buying, driving and enjoying one of our vehicles," Chrysler Group Senior Vice President John Bozzella said in a prepared statement. "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."
Prior to Chrysler’s announcement Thursday, federal and even California lawmakers had considered drafting legislation to restore tort rights to old Chrysler vehicle owners.
“We are heartened that Chrysler understands the need to accept responsibility for defective products,” Christine Spagnoli, president of the Consumer Attorneys of California, said in a press release. “We look forward to resolving legitimate cases in a way that provides justice for victims and their families."
Claims filed against Chrysler before the automaker’s bankruptcy will still have to compete with other creditors’ demands.
— Cheryl Miller
Follow me on Twitter