Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to respond to Chrysler’s barb that Tesla wasn’t the first American automaker to repay the U.S. government for aid.
Tesla, which paid off the remaining $451.8 million on its 2010 Department of Energy loan Wednesday, received $465 million under the highly politicized Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program.
It is the first company with a loan from that program to repay its debt. Others such as struggling plug-in hybrid maker Fisker Automotive and battery company A123 Systems also received DOE loans.
In its official announcement, Tesla said it is “the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.”
The pronouncement didn’t go over well with Gualberto Ranieri, Chrysler’s senior vice president of corporate communications, who posted a blog later Wednesday entitled, “Not Exactly, Tesla.”
“The information is unmistakably incorrect,” Ranieri wrote. “It’s pretty well-known that almost exactly two years ago — May 24, 2011 — Chrysler Group LLC repaid (in full and with interest) U.S. and Canadian government loans more than six years ahead of schedule.”
When a Tesla spokeswoman was asked for the company’s response to Chrysler, she said Musk’s tweets “speak for themselves.”
Musk brought up Chrysler’s ties to the Italy’s Fiat S.p.A. and the $1.3 billion taxpayer loss that the U.S. Treasury says it’s unlikely to recover from the old Chrysler, a separate legal entity that went into bankruptcy in 2009.