If you want to know exactly what Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney thinks about the Chevrolet Volt, listen to his laugh before he answers a question about the car posed to him during a radio interview on WRKO in Boston recently. Romney was asked what he thought about the car, and he responded with a dismissive-sounding laugh by labeling the plug-in hybrid an "idea whose time has not come." He later explained that his attitude is proved correct by the Volt's low sales numbers. Whatever the reason, he clearly does not approve of the car.
Romney's criticism should play well with the conservative base that dislikes the Volt, but it's not probably going to help him win Michigan, where the Volt was designed and is built. Local media outlets are already dinging the former Governor of Massachusetts and Michigan native son for criticizing the breakthrough hybrid. As a United Auto Workers leader at the Volt plant said on a recent conference call, "It's not an idea that is ahead of its time. It's behind its time. It should have been here [years ago] so we wouldn't be dependent on foreign oil." Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) tweeted her disapproval: "My blood is boiling: Romney attacks the Volt, a FANTASTIC U.S. car made in his home state by American workers"
Romney has long been critical of the DOE's advanced vehicle technology loans (which were given to Fisker, Ford, Nissan and Tesla, among others) and the auto industry bailout. Both of those programs were started under President George Bush but are often associated with President Obama. In 2008, Romney wrote an op-ed titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," so his aversion to federal support for the industry is anything new.
You can hear Romney laugh about the Volt at the beginning of the video embedded after the jump, or you can listen to his entire 20-minute WRKO interview here.