Will Detroit Finally Heed George Romney's 1959 Advice?

According to an Associated Press story, most auto executives expect sales of hybrids and low-cost, fuel efficient autos will exceed sales of SUVs, pickups and luxury models.

Published: 22-Jan-2007

wants to have a gas-guzzling dinosaur in his garage?"

— George Romney, a future Michigan governor, quoted in Time magazine, April 6, 1959, while he was chief of American Motors.

Americans bought enough of Romney’s Ramblers to move the company’s share of the U.S. market from 1.6 percent to 6.2 percent in only two years. Yet few truly listened to Romney. The Time story also contained this quote: "No one expects that the market for small foreign cars will disappear, but most automakers estimate that it will grow no bigger. In fact, it may shrink."

Adrian Mayor Gary McDowell at the time worked at Bloomfield Hills Golf Club and was Romney’s golf caddie, an unusual distinction in itself. Romney was known as "The Ghost" due to his speedy, solo golf rounds played at dawn.


Average diesel consumption for these two cars is 3.4 litres per 100 kilometres, with 90 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre, a 25 percent improvement over comparable gasoline-electric hybrid systems.

The two-mode hybrid technology allows for fuel optimization, especially during highway driving at higher speeds.

Like a Trojan horse, Camry sneaks gas-saving radicalism into a trusted American staple.


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