Canadian Manufacturing

Tesla, Chrysler spar over government loan payback comments

Chrysler takes exception to Tesla claiming it is first automaker to repay loans

DETROIT—Automaker Chrysler has taken exception to comments made by California-based electric vehicle maker Tesla claiming it is the first American car company to have fully repaid government loans.

In a post on Chrysler’s website titled ‘Not Exactly, Tesla,’ the automaker called out its electrified counterpart over claims it paid off a $451.8-million loan, becoming “the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.”

Awarded in 2010, the loan was from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was part of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.

For months, Tesla had been boasting it would pay off the loan in less than half of the allotted 10 years granted by the DOE.

Tesla announced it made the final payment May 22.

But Chrysler cried foul immediately following Tesla’s announcement, saying the “information is unmistakably incorrect.”

In June 2009, the U.S., Canadian and Ontario governments provided bailout loans to Chrysler amounting to approximately $6.7-billion.

Chrysler, which was struggling to keep its head above water as the Great Recession took hold and eroded its global sales, received $5.1-billion from the U.S. Treasury Department and $1.6-billion from Export Development Canada.

On May 25, 2011, Chrysler announced it had repayed, in full, all loans with interest, totaling $7.6-billion.

“Repayment of the government loans closes an important chapter in our history, but we still have a great deal left to accomplish before regaining our rightful place in the automotive landscape,” Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said during the repayment announcement two years ago.

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