What does a Chrysler bankruptcy mean for Chrysler owners?

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A year ago, the wife and I decided it was time for our expanding family to trade a mid-size SUV for the spacious expanses of a minivan. After doing quite a bit of research, we finally found the right price on the right vehicle, a 2009 Town and Country from Chrysler (insert sad trombone sound here). The FightBus (as the minivan has been named) is an excellent vehicle and easily fits our two FightBabies (the third is due any day now) and any cargo we need to tote. However, I am now concerned that an oil change will result in a government hearing that could last well beyond my next 5,000 miles.

I mean, should I be worried that the distance-to-empty meter (DTE) on the FightBus's gas tank says, "Call Barney Frank?" With Chapter 11 bankruptcy staring Chrysler in the face, what is going to happen to the extended warranty plan that we purchased? If the company enters into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, anyone purchasing a new Chrysler will know that the almighty U.S. government says it will cover the warranty. But what about me, I purchased the FightBus nearly a year ago -- will my warranty be covered? I have been doing research in order to find out if I will have coverage, and it seems that there are as many opinions and beliefs about what will happen as there are Chrysler models.

Some people believe that no previous warranties will be covered if the company declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy (the example of General Motors not honoring Daewoo warranties), but some say that the whatever company purchases Chrysler will more than likely cover any pre-existing warranties (notice the use of "more than likely"). It all depends on what the purchasing company wants to do. There is precedent for these warranties to be honored if Chrysler is purchased before a bankruptcy filing, but today's revelation that bankruptcy is near certain doesn't inspire confidence that this scenario will come to fruition. Quite honestly, I am worried . . . and I feel like the wife and I wasted some money when we purchased the extended warranty. I truly hope that is not the case, and I really hope that Chrysler can avoid bankruptcy so I don't have to find out what may happen.

Perhaps Chrysler will be able to dump its existing warranties on a third party, or maybe I will take some of my free time and become a Chrysler certified tinkerer so I can work on the FightBus.

All kidding aside, there is a distinct possibility that we current Chrysler warranty holders could be left holding the bag while still making payments for a vehicle that doesn't have a warranty. While some may have faith that any company purchasing Chrysler may honor existing warranties, those who are a bit more jaded (including yours truly) will probably not hold their breath.

It was just reported that President Obama is going to speak to the Chrysler situation today at high noon. An administration official stated, "While the administration was willing to give the holdout creditors a final opportunity to do the right thing, the agreement of all other key stakeholders ensured that no hedge fund could have a veto over Chrysler's future success." What does this mean? We will have to wait to find out, but I hope it means my warranty will be honored.

I do know that if I were looking at a new FightBus right now, I would be a lot more careful about which brand I purchase. In fact, the latest news would keep me from purchasing a Chrysler vehicle -- and that is a guarantee that I can cover.
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