By on April 2, 2008

jimpress340.jpgSometimes, the spin is so obvious it speaks for itself. This official post-Press announcement re: the former Toyota current Chrysler exec's claim that the Japanese government funded the development of the Prius— since denied by Toyota– is a perfect case in point. "Chrysler Statement 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." I guess that's what goes for an apology in this biz.

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17 Comments on “Chrysler: Jim Press is Not a Liar...”


  • avatar
    peteski

    Someone please get a list of the number and $ amount of Government subsidies/concessions made to help fund the Big Three but, you have to hand it to Mr. Press because he knows what you get when you don’t ask.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Does anyone remember a funding program from the Federal government that gave advertising money to the then Big 3 so they’d be able to advertise more that the owners should feel good about driving an American made car (irony was many of them were Japanese – Geos, Novas, Escorts – but no assistance to those “owners” where the real American made cars fell apart right after they bought them). There’s a bunch of other silly / pork barrel loopholes out there still.

  • avatar

    One day as Toyota was projecting the future of the biz it came to a realization.

    “Petroleum is sure a problematic resource,” it said. “Who will invest in engineering a product that responds to these market concerns?”

    “Not I,” said the GM.

    “Not I,” said the FOMOCO.

    “Not I,” said the CHRYSLER.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    I’d have to say that’s fairly brilliant. They cast doubt on whether Toyota deserves any acknowlegement for their green cred by saying “It’s an American company versus the whole damn country!” This appeals to the loyalists who believe Japan is an empire bent on global domination. Now, they basically say that if you want a healthy car industry, it means billions in subsidies for them. Oh, and they also may be implying that if you are against it, you’re un-American. I’m not sure.

  • avatar

    This appeals to the loyalists who believe Japan is an empire bent on global domination.

    Let’s just say the Japanese are better at it.

    So he was looking for handouts. Not surprised. Anyone else get slightly incensed by how the “great” managers of industry and finance want the government (that is tax payers) to paper over their mistakes? As nathaniel says above, Toyota’s insight wasn’t exactly blindingly difficult to achieve, but Detroit LaLaLand just couldn’t wrap its head around the fact that oil is a finite resource.

  • avatar

    I can’t help but feel that most of the captains of American industry think that the general public are a bunch of useless twats (We can say that here right?) who they can throw rubbish at and we will chow down like it’s an all-you-can-eat steak buffet. When we don’t, it is because we were so stupid that we got duped by the foreign competition who don’t play fair, rather than their own lack of vision.

  • avatar

    jaje

    the owners should feel good about driving an American made car (irony was many of them were Japanese – Geos, Novas, Escorts – but no assistance to those “owners” where the real American made cars fell apart right after they bought them).

    Actually, most Geos, the Nova and the Escort were all built in North American. The Geo Prizm was built by NUMMI in California while the Metro and Tracker were built by CAMI in Canada. The Storm was the only Geo built off the North American continent. It came from Japan where it was built by Isuzu.

    The Nova, in its first incarnation, was built by Chevrolet in a variety of plants in the U.S. and Canada. The second incarnation was built by NUMMI in California.

    The Escort, while based on an European design, was built in Michigan, Mexico and Canada at different points of its model run.

  • avatar
    shaker

    My 1990 Escort GT was built in New Jersey. A nice car, at the time, but not very durable… they changed the design the next year, but it just seemd so… generic that I never looked Ford-ward again.

  • avatar
    Christopher

    Speaking of Geo.. Maybe someone on the TTAC team could tell the story of what the hell GM was thinking when they put that brand in to play. I was a little to young / not yet interested in the automotive industry and it seems like that whole experiment was swept under the rug.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Jim Press plays the Victim Card. Pathetic.

  • avatar
    jolo

    Even the Japanese government called Press a liar, although not in those words entirely..

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080403/japan_toyota_prius.html?.v=2

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    “I can’t help but feel that most of the captains of American industry think that the general public are a bunch of useless twats (We can say that here right?) who they can throw rubbish at and we will chow down like it’s an all-you-can-eat steak buffet.”
    Well, I can only speak for my boss, who, while probably not to be considered a captain of American industry, refers to his employees as (note the quotation marks)”worthless paid-by-the-hour assholes”.

  • avatar
    marc

    Carshark, great analysis.

    Press puts enough seeds of doubt about Toyota and Japan to cause endless controversy, fueling vitriolic responses all over the internet. People get angry with Toyota and (in Press’s dreams) stop buying Priuses and other Toyotas. Then Press comes back around and asks the US govt to do the same thing (that probably never happened in the first place.)

    Brilliant.

    (I know I didnt really add much more to your great analysis, but it was worth repeating.)

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    Come on, a little common sense here. Many governments fund scientific research and we benefit from this. It may be as simple as new cold weather clothing designed for the US Army or new batteries for NASA. Many of our universities have students hard at work on new ideas funded by U.S. Government science grants.
    So, of course, governments indirectly help their industries. Our problem is that the science research budget has been cut because Bush wanted lots of money to go kill Moslems or steal oil or something.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Letter to Jim Press:

    Mr. Press,

    If your new employer built the Accord, 3-series or Euro Focus, your company wouldn’t need a government handout. None of those cars just listed have hybrid variants (if I recall correctly), but they are all well made, well designed, fairly desirable cars that sell well.

    Total number of Chrysler products that meet those criteria: 0

    Sincerely,
    A car buyer not looking at any Chrysler products

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Folkdancer, if Bush gave your tax money and my tax money to the carmakers, I promise you we’d still see a $50k Volt in 2020.

    The rest of your post belongs on a political blog.

  • avatar
    50merc

    It could be that Toyota took advantage of tax credits for Prious R&D costs. In that case, there would not have been a check from the Japanese government, but Press could still accurately say the research was government-funded.

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