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Seemingly absent Rambler American 440from Mitt Romney's discussion of his father's, George Romney's, business expertise is his passion and support for "sensible cars".  As George Romney put it in 1994,

I concluded way back then that you didn't need a great big car for going to the market to get bobby pins.
Thus, the Rambler as the lowest cost convertible on the market ... a 'sensible car'.

In Romney's perspective, failure to aggressively pursue the Rambler left American Motors Corporation without a future.

The Rambler [was] the car of the future. ... He's right who is most in league with the future. ... The Rambler was the first successful economical compact car on the American market.

There is some reason to believe that George Romney merits praiseas a business strategist and energy policy conceiver well ahead of his time.

While the "Big Three" introduced ever-larger cars, AMC followed a "dinosaur-fighter" strategy. George W. Romney's leadership focused the company on the compact car, a fuel-efficient vehicle 20 years before there was a real need for them. This gave Romney a high profile in the media. ... A letter to shareholders in 1959 claimed that the introduction of new compact cars by AMC's large domestic competitors (for the 1960 model year) "signals the end of big-car domination in the U.S." and that AMC predicts small-car sales in the U.S. may reach 3 million units by 1963.
In face of ever greater behemoths, even back then, Romney signaled a vision for energy smart transportation options with a basic understanding that size (weight) translates very quickly into increased fuel use.

And, Romney's strategy worked.

sales were strong, thanks in no small part to the company's history of building small cars, which came into vogue in 1961. In both 1960 and 1961, Ramblers ranked in third place among domestic automobile sales
And, paid off for the shareholders
Romney's strategic focus was very successful as reflected in the firm's healthy profits year after year. The company became completely debt-free.
And, for the workforce.
The financial success allowed the company to reach an agreement on August 26, 1961 with the United Auto Workers for a profit sharing plan that was new in the automobile industry. Its new three-year labor contract also included generous annual improvement pay increases, as well as automatic cost-of-living raises
George Romney's energy smart business leadership didn't stop with the 'sensible' Rambler:
American Motors was also beginning to experiment in non-gasoline powered automobiles. On April 1, 1959, AMC and Sonotone Corporation announced a joint research effort to consider producing an electric car that was to be powered by a "self-charging" battery. Sonotone had the technology for making sintered plate nickel–cadmium batteries that can be recharged very rapidly and are lighter than a typical automobile lead–acid battery.IMG_0306
Thus, over 50 years ago, George Romney looked to the pomise of marrying small 'sensible' automobiles with electric propulsion to take the nation off the oil addiction path.

Sadly -- for AMC shareholders, employees, and the general move forward in the U.S. transportation/energy sectors -- George Romney resigned from AMC to run for Governor and his successor decided to chase AMC's competitors into the larger car markets rather than dominate (and grow) the small car market.

Mitt Romney once saw his father's vision as key to deal with the nation's 'addiction to oil'.

Look, if we could somehow magically wave a wand over our automobile fleetand replace all of our cars with the current best technology, 35 mpg-type technology, we'd be saving an extraordinary amount of oil.
In any event, George Romney's focus on the 'sensible' and economical (both at purchase price and operations cost) small car might just be his greatest achievement and one that Mitt Romney is conveniently ignoring while pandering to the 'Drill, Baby, Drill' McSUV crowd.

Hat tip to FatherFlot for calling this to my attention.

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Comment Preferences

  •  proving once again (6+ / 0-)

    that Mittens is not actually human; he is more of a theoretical human.

    Like father, unlike son.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:11:48 AM PDT

  •  It's important to remember that.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....Oil is a global commodity and we are a big part of the market but only a part of the market.

  •  Sometimes... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins, A Siegel, John Crapper

    it IS preferable to go back to the older models.

    Romney.1907 may be the superior version.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:13:57 PM PDT

  •  we would save a lot of oil if we all drove (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper, A Siegel

    energy efficient cars but not as much as if we all went veggie.   I think going veggie can be much easier and faster.

    Look, if we could somehow magically wave a wand over our automobile fleetand replace all of our cars with the current best technology, 35 mpg-type technology, we'd be saving an extraordinary amount of oil.

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:01:32 PM PDT

  •  My father owned a Rambler. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    For his whole life he described as the worst car he ever owned.

    If it presaged anything, it may have been the Yugo.

    I have no idea if it was fuel efficient, since it generally didn't run well enough to find out.

    American Motors was on life support when Chrysler gobbled it up.

    It is now roughly 50 years after the Rambler came out, and electric cars (and bikes) are still not a major player in any industrial nation with the exception of China.

    There's some doubt as to whether or not they are even clean, as I pointed out in a recent diary on the experience of China:    China Already Has 100 Million Electric Vehicles.

    Of course, the Romney family wants us all to go back to the 1950's, but I would think - in spite of my jaunticed view that involves a sense of hopelessness and despair - that anything that might do something will not involve looking backwards to the "good old days."

    I do recognize that many people would like to return to the 18th century - when the world's economy was totally based on so called "renewables" but that isn't going to work unless a significant portion of the 7 billion people on the planet agree to commit suicide, roughly 6 out of every 7 people now living.

    The notion that Ramblers will save us is slightly worse than that notion, but only by degrees.

    •  You are soooo pro nuclear and it shows n/t (0+ / 0-)

      If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

      by John Crapper on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:16:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  By the way nuclear will not save humanity n/t (0+ / 0-)

      If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

      by John Crapper on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:17:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I emphatically agree with both your comments. (0+ / 0-)

        I consider nuclear energy to be the best - really the only - environmentally acceptable form of energy there is.

        No one could be more pro-nuclear energy than I am, although many people equal my enthusiasm.

        That said, I do not believe that nuclear power will "save humanity" or for that matter, the American lifestyle.

        I have written about this many times, most recently in this diary:  Should Nuclear Energy Be a Panacea?

        Fear, ignorance, superstition and suspicion prevented nuclear energy from doing what it might have done, but I am sure it is now too late to save much.

        Thanks for your accurate description of my views.

        •  You seriously put nuclear ahead of (0+ / 0-)

          wind/wave, geo-thermal, solar and hydro  I can cetainly see the rational for putting it ahead of coal and natural gas (although I don't agree with doing that) but really...    

          If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

          by John Crapper on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 08:56:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. Most seriously. Far above, way above. (0+ / 0-)

            The forms of energy that you mention have all have had universal cheering and oodles of money thrown at them for more than 50 years.

            Nuclear energy - which is by the way cleaner and more sustainable - still produces more energy than ALL of these forms combined.

            The last year for which the inventory is available, 2010 resulted in more dangerous fossil fuel waste being dumped into Earth's atmosphere ever.

            You say you don't agree with putting nuclear ahead of gas and coal - and this is unsurprising since I have never met an anti-nuke who gives a rat's ass about climate change or the fact that air pollution, according to the World Health Organization 3.3 million people a year.

            In order to be as dangerous as oil, coal, gas and biomass, nuclear energy would need to kill as many people as died in World War II every 15 years.

            Nuclear energy has been commercial for more than 50 years.

            Guess what?   It hasn't killed even as many people as will die tomorrow from air pollution.

            Mostly the things you mention have proved useless in fighting climate change, and the thing they generate chiefly is wishful thinking.

            The scientific literature on life cycle analysis is vast.   There are NO such studies that regard nuclear energy has having worse criteria than any other form of energy.

            The chief complaint in the scientific literature is that nuclear energy "lacks public acceptance."

            I take this as a complaint that evoking nuclear energy results in fear, ignorance, and superstition.

            This would suggest that what is about to happen to humanity is its own fault.

            •  You have a funny way of misinterpreting (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              indycam

              what I say.  I said I can see the rational for putting nuclear ahead of coal and natural gas.  Its everyday operation is cleaner.  I just consider nuclear not viable for further expansion because of the waste storage problem, terror threat and the ramifications for those living around a plant when (not if) an accident happens.  

              You are very caustic in your approach to people in the way you communicate.  I've seen it in numerous diaries.  I will therefore refrain from further conversation with you as I find it very unpleasant and unproductive.  Have a nice life.  I know what I care about and it does not involve anything you have to say.  

              If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

              by John Crapper on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:53:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The change in message coming from the likes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    of the Romneys points to the very real possibility that politicians in today's world are vulnerable to pressure from strong public opinion.  That is our job!!

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

    by John Crapper on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:23:38 PM PDT

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