Car Fight: Chrysler Calls Out Tesla – Who Paid Up First?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
car fight chrysler calls out tesla 8211 who paid up first

Ommm – ummmm

The first thing they drummed into me when I started as a copywriter for Volkswagen: “Never use superlatives. They only get you in trouble.” Now, Elon Musk is in trouble over who was first to fully pay back the government loan.

Yesterday, Tesla wired $452 million to repay the remaining portion of its DOE loan with interest. The company told Reuters it is “the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.”

Chrysler fired back four hours later: “Not exactly, Tesla.”

Having repaid $7.6 billion in federal loans in 2011, Chrysler said today : “Tesla’s information is unmistakably incorrect.”

Musk went on Twitter and came back with a retort that will enrage red, white and blueblooded Chrysler fans. He said Chrysler is no U.S. car company, it is a division of Fiat and besides, Chrysler never fully repaid its loans.

Says Reuters: “The U.S. government recouped about $11.2 billion of its funds. In 2011, Treasury said it is unlikely to fully recover $1.3 billion owed by Old Chrysler.”

All I can say: Stay away from superlatives. They only get you in trouble.

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6 of 37 comments
  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on May 23, 2013

    Chrysler paid back what they were legally obligated to first. And yes, as already pointed out, they are a registered U.S. corporation. They are not a division of Fiat, Fiat is a majority stockholder. Musk is really making himself out to be a blaggard by trying to boost his own company's reputation by spouting off falsehoods.

    • See 3 previous
    • Danio3834 Danio3834 on May 24, 2013

      @Thinkin... Perhaps. Why do you people seem to think this is some sort of revelation? There are some differences between Chrysler and Toyonda of America. Where the global headquarters of their parent corporations are, where the R&D activites are centered and where most of the profits end up, if any of that even matters to you at all. Chrysler is registered as a U.S. corporation with it's headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The profits go there. When/if a full Fiat merger takes place, sources indicate that Fiat will move it's global headquarters to Auburn Hills, not the other way around. Then by the definition of some, will Fiat become an American company? Semantics.

  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on May 24, 2013

    Tesla's over $1B (currently, not counting unfunded liabilities) in the hole to investors. Profitable so that investors get paid back with a return? Never in a bazillion years. Just like GM-Episode II...

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.