Jim Press has found that his comments have landed him somewhere between a rock and a hard place, with his current position at Chrysler on the one hand and his former employers at Toyota on the other. In an interview with BusinessWeek, Press claimed that the Japanese government had directly subsidized the development of the Prius hybrid. Toyota spokesmen were quick to refute Press' comments, pointing out that their former executive had given statements directly to the contrary in the past, including testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Chrysler, in turn, has now issued a statement clarifying its president's remarks. A release posted on the company's Firehouse media blog claims that Press was "not speaking negatively of Toyota." The Japanese auto giant would clearly disagree, but the statement goes on to clarify that Press' comments were intended to highlight the need for closer cooperation between Washington and the Big 3, along the lines of the relationship which Press claimed exists between Japanese government and industry. Hardly a reversal of position, and somehow we doubt this will be the end of the row.

For more details, follow the link to BusinessWeek's follow-up article and read Chrysler's statement in full after the jump.

[Source: Chrysler and BusinessWeek] Chrysler Statement on Jim Press Comments on Hybrid Battery Development

There have been several news reports today concerning statements made by Chrysler LLC Vice Chairman and President Jim Press on battery development for hybrid vehicles. First of all, Press was not speaking negatively of Toyota.

In a recent interview, he referenced the close cooperation between the Japanese government and Japanese industry. He said the Japanese government strongly supported R & D (research and development) investment in battery development, and the Prius and other Japanese models benefited from that investment in industry.

He cited this as an example of cooperation between government and industry working together on public policy issues. He went on to say that he would like to see similar cooperation in the United States in order to find technological improvements that help give U.S. companies a competitive advantage.


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