The last few months have been quite eventful for California Lemon Law advocates
and consumers alike. The downward trend in sales, bailouts and bankruptcy
proceedings were contributing factors. The June sales figures are in and
while the news isn’t good, there are signs that the market is beginning
to stabilize. Of the automakers with a major presence in the U.S., Ford
showed the best results with sales dropping only 10.7% compared to last
June and reporting a gain in market share. Overall, the drop in sales
reported by all manufacturers was 27.7% – almost exactly the same
as Toyota. General Motors and Honda were worse than average at 33 and
30 percent respectively. The big loser was Chrysler whose sales plummeted
a whopping 42 percent.
Most analysts figured that the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies would hurt
their sales and it appears that the experts were right. Ford, on the other
hand, seems to have won a lot of consumer confidence by refusing government
bailouts and remaining self-sufficient.
Chrysler fared much worse than GM, at least on a one-month basis and a
good question is why the difference? There is probably not a single answer.
One reason might be in how the two manufacturers have dealt with warranty
matters (i.e. demands for buybacks under the
California lemon law and other state lemon laws) while under bankruptcy court protection. Early
in the process, GM got court approval to continue to honor warranty claims
as it always had. Chrysler, on the other hand, created a lot of ill will
and bad publicity by bouncing settlement checks. It has tried to use the
bankruptcy to change the terms of settlements previously agreed to. Did
the public conclude that Chrysler was using the bankruptcy to hide from
its responsibilities? Hard to tell for sure, but one thing is certain.
Your rights to warranty protection are an essential part of car ownership.
When these are threatened, you should request legal assistance and consider
taking your future business elsewhere.