Chrysler Motor Corp. pleaded no contest in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to federal charges that it sold several thousand vehicles as new even though they had been driven with disconnected odometers by company employees. The company agreed to pay $16 million to owners of the vehicles as part of a settlement of current and potential class-action lawsuits. The payments are expected to be made in about three months, after a final consent decree is signed, officials said. The settlement calls for Chrysler to pay at least $500 each to the owners of about 32,000 vehicles that have been identified as having been part of what the company called its quality assurance program. That program involved company employees' taking vehicles home to test-drive them. The auto maker also extended the warranties of the cars involved at a cost of more than $9 million, officials said.