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CAR OWNERS GOT $8 MILLION UNDER LEMON LAW LAST YEAR

More than $8 million was recovered by the owners of new and used automobiles in 1997 under the state Lemon Law, Attorney General Dennis Vacco said Monday.

Cash awards, replacement vehicles or repairs were won by 650 New Yorkers under the program. The bulk of the money -- $7.7 million -- was returned to new vehicle buyers while the owners of used "lemons" got $554,338, according to Vacco.

The laws are designed to provide a legal remedy for people whose new or newly purchased used cars are chronically in the shop or in need of repair.

As in past years, recoveries by the owners of vehicles produced by the Big Three automakers -- General Motors (193), Chrysler (165) and Ford (148) -- dominated the Lemon Law statistics.

The other automakers in the top 10 were Toyota (17), Hyundai (17), Honda (15), Nissan (15), Mitsubishi (13), Subaru (8) and Volkswagen (7).

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