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Chrysler offers a lifetime warranty

DETROIT -- Chrysler Group raised the stakes in the warranty game yesterday, offering lifetime repairs for key components of vehicles sold in the United States.

The new warranty, effective yesterday, replaces one lasting three years or 36,000 miles. Chrysler said it "covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair covered powertrain components -- engine, transmission and drive system," and applies to retail sales of gasoline-powered vehicles. It applies only to the first person who owns or leases a vehicle, and excludes sales to rental companies and other fleet users.

The new warranty covers about 88 percent of US sales of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, said company spokeswoman Lori Pinter. DaimlerChrysler AG sold 1.11 million Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep-brand cars and light trucks in the United States in the first half of 2007.

Germany's DaimlerChrysler said in May that it would sell an 80.1 percent stake in its US unit to Cerberus Capital Management LP.

With the new warranty, Chrysler leapfrogs US rivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., which last year extended theirs.

GM's now lasts five years or 100,000 miles, while Ford's lasts five years or 60,000 miles for Ford and Mercury models and six years or 70,000 miles for Lincoln models.

Warranties by other automakers vary. South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. offers one lasting 10 years or 100,000 miles, while Toyota Motor Co.'s warranty lasts five years, or 60,000 miles for its Toyota brand and six years or 70,000 miles for its luxury Lexus brand.