Chrysler late Wednesday hustled to explain away the controversial comments of Jim Press, its vice chairman and president, in the ongoing firestorm over whether the Japanese government paid to fund the development of the Prius hybrid. Press "was not speaking negatively of Toyota," according to a posting on Chrysler's blog,

"In a recent interview, he referenced the close cooperation between the Japanese government and Japanese industry," according to the posting. "He said the Japanese government strongly supported R&D 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."

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Jim Press Backpedals On Comments About Funding of Toyota Prius

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