Chrylser Financial, a business unit of DaimlerChrylser Services North America LLC, announced it will no longer offer leasing in the state of New York beginning May 1, 2004. The company is exiting the market due to New York’s vicarious liability law, which Chrysler believes unfairly exposes vehicle owners. Under the existing law in New York the “owner” of a motor vehicle is responsible for personal injury and property damage caused by the driver of a leased vehicle, regardless of any fault or responsibility of the leasing company. With leasing, the finance company holds the title to the vehicle and therefore could be sued for damages under the existing vicarious liability statutes. Chrylser Financial, along with the New York State Automotive Dealers Association and the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, has lobbied vigorously to change the legislation in New York to no avail. “The current legislative environment in New York has forced us to exit based on the significant financial exposure we risk if we continue to offer leasing in this market,” said Klaus Entenmann, Vice President, Chrysler Financial, in a prepared statement.Chrylser Financial says it may reenter the market if the law is changed.
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