The fundamental problem with this guy can best be summed as follows:
Lutz talked about something that we will term the 95 / 5 ratio. He believes that there are two types of American car buyers. Lutz believes that 5 % of buyers are what he calls East and West coast intellectuals. These buyers desire to be cutting edge, environmentally friendly, economically minded, and long for a vehicle like the Volt. Then there is the other 95 % of American buyers who still long for a monstrous V8, sexy styling, and cars that evoke passion. This buyer goes for the Corvette, the BMW M5, the Porsches and so on.
This guy is so out of touch with the future that he is a liability for GM. His thinking that people would like V8’s is of days bygone. Today’s monster motors were yesterday’s 6-bangers. I was a teenager in the 80’s and my car was the Barracuda. This car had a Hemi motor and was my dream car!
But two decades later I look at that car as fond memories of days bygone. Nobody talks about Hemi motors and I wonder if any readers even know what I am talking about. Sure I would still admire the car if I saw it on the street, but you could not pry a single penny out of my pocket to buy that car. The issue is that, that was then, and this is now. Times change!
Lutz’s last car was the Camero SS.
With an estimated 25 miles per gallon on the highway, the 400-plus-horsepower Camaro SS is not a car renowned for being fuel-efficient. It is another Bob Lutz car, a monument to Lutz’s and GM’s enduring hope that even as the company struggles to escape bankruptcy as a smaller, leaner producer of fuel-efficient vehicles, the glory days can somehow be resurrected.
What the heck is he smoking? He simply does not get it. You can see it with his remark regarding the tesla.
Letterman asked if Tesla can make the all electric Roadster, why can’t GM do the same? Lutz said, "We can, but we need to sell these things in volume. And we have a $100,000 car that sells reasonably well, it’s called the Corvette ZR-1…We can’t survive on $100,000 cars."
This is completely missing the point because the Tesla can smoke most sports cars and it is environmentally friendly. And he is missing how this market could be the market for the future. I was talking about this with my wife.
Let’s take the simple, but important noise of the motor. Lutz thinks about how to make the right muffler noise and they bought a Ferrari to verify the noise.
"A lot of waste in the glory days," observes Lutz, who remembers former GM design chief Bill Mitchell authorizing the purchase of a new Ferrari V-12 engine just so he could demonstrate to subordinate engineers what he wanted the engine of another GM car, the 12-cylinder Pontiac Firebird, to sound like. "He spent what today would be like $75,000 to get the engine," a laughing Lutz says. "He could have done the same things with a recording or he could have rented a Ferrari for a day. It’s hysterical when you think about it, crazy. It was a flamboyant era."
No I think this is stupid and you are missing the future of cars. Think about this. The Tesla sounds like a wound up drill when running. But who is to say that you can’t have “ring tones” for the car? Imagine a car accelerating and it making “oink oink oink” noises, and then slowing down making, “wohaa hold your horses…” noises. The traditionalists will say, a car should make motor noises? Really, well then get a car tone that sounds like a Ferrari speeding up! Car tones only became important around the 60’s and before when cars were putt putting around nobody cared!
My point is that these noises are just figments of our imaginations and like the ringtone market has shown people will plunk down plenty of money to personalize their phone. And the younger generation has more interest in pimping their cars than replacing the motor. Think Pimp my ride. How often do you see what motor or undercarriage they put in? It is this thinking that Lutz lacks and it is this thinking that GM needs!
Obama and the American government need to dump this company FAST!
PS: So how would I run the car company of the future? Simple make it Pimp My Ride friendly. Make it so that a big third party could be established so that people can assemble and disassemble their cars using approved parts. The youth of today would go wild!
UPDATE: Some say that Lutz did wonders for GM, and created wonderful products, but I on the other hand take the opposite view. Like the following contradictory comment regarding the Tesla and 100,000 dollar cars.
Speaking with Rick Kranz, product editor of Automotive News, Bob Lutz admired what Porsche had done with their brand, extending it past sports cars to "coupes, convertibles, crossovers" and the upcoming Panamera. Then Lutz says, "You could do the same thing with the Corvette."
Ah yes, it is ok so long as the comparison is to fuel wasting hog cars, but the moment its electrical and something new its NOT GOOD… Whatever Lutz, you were the product man at GM for 45 years and you are partially responsible for the bankruptcy of GM! And all you will now do is spew the same ol’ same old!