Locked Out of California

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SACRAMENTO: The California Department of Motor Vehicles is blocking Chrysler from resupplying the state with new Chrysler cars for 45 days after dealers resold 116 "lemons" to California drivers. The breakdown-prone cars were bought back from unhappy drivers and resold by dealers after some repair work but without, state officials charge, properly disclosing that the cars had had previous problems or giving out the correct warranties. Chrysler will appeal the decision, which may indefinately delay the ban on the corporation restocking dealerships with vehicles. "This ruling is a lemon the size of the Yellow Submarine," says TIME's William McWhirter. "A fine of this magnitude is absolutely unprecedented on a U.S. manufacturer. To make the manufacturers responsible for the actions of independent dealers is something Chrysler, a feisty company, is unlikely to take lying down. The corporation can't afford to lose access to any state, because it will become nationally tainted with unsavory business practice." Chrysler dealers will be able to sell cars and provide service during the suspension, if it occurs. -->