Toyota Claims Jim Press Is A Liar, Pants Are On Fire: Prius Development Didn't Use Government Dollars

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Today the super number-one best automaker from the land of the rising sun provided us the automotive industry equivalent of yelling "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" at their former President of Toyota USA, Jim Press. Press, now President of Chrysler, claimed last week in an article in BusinessWeek that 100% of development of the battery and hybrid engine for the automaker's happy little hybrid, the Prius, occurred via a fat injection of government dollars. This claim had been widely speculated at in the past, but much like the existence of the Yeti, "Nessie" and the affordable lightweight mid-size performance coupe, proof was in short supply. However, Press's comments to Newsweek last week were akin to pulling out the tail of a giant Icyosauropodasaurthing from the depths of a Scottish Loch. Now, Toyota's fightin' back. Here's what spokesman Paul Nolasco now claims:

"I can say 100 percent that Toyota received absolutely no support — no money, no grants — from the Japanese government for the development of the Prius..."

Like Press's claim earlier, we view this comment with an equal degree of skepticism. Somehow, we're starting to think the real truth lies somewhere still beneath the waters of a Scottish lake, or at least at the bottom of a tall glass of scotch. Whichever we can get our hands on first. All we know is at least Toyota's not quoted as saying "Jim Press is a crock of shit." Maybe that'll come in the next round of back-and-forth. [via AP]