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BuddyP

Interview with Lutz: Volt, Converj

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http://gm-volt.com/2009/01/15/video-exclus...irman-bob-lutz/

I had the special opportunity for a one on one exclusive interview with GM vice chairman Bob Lutz. I apologize for the sound quality as we had to go to a place where the mobs of reporters wouldn’t besiege him, and there was a lot of background noise. You may have to turn up the volume to hear it well. The video appears below. I have summarized our conversation as follows:

I asked him about whether the Cadillac Converj would be produced. He said he wanted it to be and said the production clay model is already built and essentially identical. He notes financial difficulties limit the certainty for moving ahead. He also said the government would have to clear it as being worthy of advanced technology loans. He said it would be an internationally accepted vehicle.

I asked him how much the car would cost, he said about “two Volts”.

I asked if he believed GM was responsible for the auto industry’s recent rapid focus towards electrification, and he said he did.

I also asked him why electrification was so important for him. He mentioned the need to displace oil and to achieve legislative efficiency requirements.

He also explained how he believes in three years battery packs will be “way down” in price.

I asked him whether GM could build packs for other companies as a new business considering their new pack assembly plant plan, and he said he saw no reason why not, although said it hadn’t been contemplated yet.

He said the Volt program production volumes remain unchanged despite GM’s financial situation.

Lutz said he does feel Volts wouldn’t sell as well if gas stayed at $1.50 per gallon, and that at first they won’t make GM a profit.

He said the Converj would cost only slightly more than the Volt to build but yet could be sold at double the price and actually make money for GM, and that’s one of the reasons why he said he’s so enthusiastic about bringing the Converj to production.

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Basically, the "bailout" loan aka Gov't could kill the Converj becoming reality

What this means in the long term?.... The Gov't will likely kill any niche/specialty type vehicles coming from Detroit.

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If the Converj could be funded without government aid, that would be a big help there.

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It's very, very sad to see GM in a position where a higher margin application of E-Flex (I effin hate that Voltec name they came up with) as a Cadillac model is dependant on a government loan/approval.........

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I'm told that the Converj Concept is actually the original Alpha styling proposal.

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2 Volts would mean the Converj is nearing $80,000. Cadillac already has an $80,000 2-door that no one wants, making one with similar interior and less performance won't sell. It better perform like a 911 if they want to charge $80,000 for it.

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I'm told that the Converj Concept is actually the original Alpha styling proposal.

That was my thought the instant I saw it, that it would make a great Alpha Caddy.

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2 Volts would mean the Converj is nearing $80,000. Cadillac already has an $80,000 2-door that no one wants, making one with similar interior and less performance won't sell. It better perform like a 911 if they want to charge $80,000 for it.

Yes... because people who buy a FWD hybrid are looking to take it on the Nurburgring..... :butthead::toiletpaper:

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Yes... because people who buy a FWD hybrid are looking to take it on the Nurburgring..... :butthead::toiletpaper:

No one is going to pay $80,000 for a front drive hybrid with Prius-like performance. Cadillac shouldn't be in the front drive business anyway. At $50k they may find some buyers, they can give it an interior/features that are similar to a loaded CTS to offset lack of performance. But at $80k there are too many high end cars that have loads of features and loads of performance.

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Converj should have no obstacle to Gov approval- it's yet another electric vehicle- they should be for that... at least from an oil dependancy standpoint.

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Converj should have no obstacle to Gov approval- it's yet another electric vehicle- they should be for that... at least from an oil dependancy standpoint.

The obstacle isn't thats its an electric, at least for the loan Lutz was referring to, the Advanced Technology Loan, its that it doesn't have any new advanced technology. At least in the sense that there is no new technology going into the Converj that isn't already in the Volt (as far as we know at least) . Since the loan is for specific technologies and not actual vehicles, and money from that loan has already been allocated and used for the advanced technology used in Voltec powertrain, which the Converj would use, there would be no new funds coming available from that specific loan program.

Thats not to say it might not get funding from the other, more recent bailout, or further bailout money that would come from Obama

Edited by Dragon
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Oh c'mon guys... you act like it's hard to convince the right person to sign off on this stuff. It's the gov't, the rules are there to be ignored or broken. Show some shiny pictures to the right person to make them drool, tell them it's a hybrid, and they'll sign off on it.

As for "this is why we shouldn't have taken the loan"... the other option (bankruptcy) was better?

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DeutcheBank thinks bankruptcy is still on the table.

Isn't that bank one of the larger shareholders of Daimler-Benz (Daimler AG?)

Makes me suspicious...

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>>"The obstacle isn't thats its an electric, at least for the loan Lutz was referring to, the Advanced Technology Loan, its that it doesn't have any new advanced technology. At least in the sense that there is no new technology going into the Converj that isn't already in the Volt (as far as we know at least) . Since the loan is for specific technologies and not actual vehicles, and money from that loan has already been allocated and used for the advanced technology used in Voltec powertrain, which the Converj would use, there would be no new funds coming available from that specific loan program."<<

OK- then there can be no direct gov't obstruction to the Converj, correct?

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>>"The obstacle isn't thats its an electric, at least for the loan Lutz was referring to, the Advanced Technology Loan, its that it doesn't have any new advanced technology. At least in the sense that there is no new technology going into the Converj that isn't already in the Volt (as far as we know at least) . Since the loan is for specific technologies and not actual vehicles, and money from that loan has already been allocated and used for the advanced technology used in Voltec powertrain, which the Converj would use, there would be no new funds coming available from that specific loan program."<<

OK- then there can be no direct gov't obstruction to the Converj, correct?

Yes. The technology has been paid for. Lutz' quote doesn't make much sense here.

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Isn't that bank one of the larger shareholders of Daimler-Benz (Daimler AG?)

Makes me suspicious...

When GM presented to congress they gave a worst-case scenario (10.5 million cars sold in 2009). This worst-case scenario would require even more money that has been allocated. Just a few weeks later GM is now predicting that 2009 will be the worst-case scenario:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/articl...4cxeiQD95NP9MO0

No conspiracies needed... things are just that bad. Although if you do want a conspiracy, perhaps you should wonder if GM knew that their worst-case scenario was actually the likely scenario (I think sales at the end of 2008 were already down to 10 Million annualized when GM predicted 10.5 being the worst case for 2009).

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Another reason I wanted a loan but with no strings attached to fuel economy and NO cafe. Just that GM would pay back the loan and build top quality cars. The government will now have more control over what we drive. Everyone will have us in hybrids and with the clunker law few fun RWD V8 powered beasts will be left. Thankfully the world is full of many people who care greatly about these old cars. This is exactly why I didn't want the bailout in its current form because Bush and Obama can tell us what to drive. Just great kiss any fun cars good-bye now. Leave it to the government to screw it up.

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