Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM's Lutz: Now the gloves are off

52 posts in this topic

[source: CNN Money]

GM's Lutz: Now the gloves are off

Expect the direct approach as Bob Lutz takes on his new role overseeing marketing and design at the new GM.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com senior writer

bob_lutz_volt.jpg

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motor's Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz is back and he's ready for a fight.

Having reversed his earlier to decision to resign rather than work for what he feared would be a government-run company, Lutz, a famously straight talker, promises to take on competitors shot for shot as the carmaker's marketing head.

"I am very much in favor of blunt talk," said Lutz.

No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Lutz says he intends to challenge the competition with messages like, "The Chevrolet Equinox has the highest highway fuel economy of any crossover SUV on the market" or "The Cadillac CTS-V is the best performing luxury sedan in the world."

"We've been too reticent to take the gloves off," Lutz said.

Expect fewer ads showing lovely shots of attractive young people driving cars down impossibly empty country roads.

Lutz points to Lee Iacocca, the iconic former Chrysler chief with whom he worked -- and clashed -- during 12 years at Chrysler in the 1980s and '90s, as providing a model for how the direct approach can change minds.

Lutz didn't say he was about to turn pitchman, but Iacocca's famous line, "If you can find a better car, buy it," strikes the tone Lutz wants.

Iacocca's stark challenge forced Americans to reconsider Chrysler products and helped bring that carmaker back from a near-bankruptcy, avoided only with government loan guarantees, in the early 1980s.

A renewed confidence.

During a half-hour interview with CNNMoney.com, Lutz was just as blunt about his feelings and fears regarding GM's brush with bankruptcy, which he said was ultimately the best thing that could have happened.

"I was a little demoralized around February or March," he said.

That was when Lutz announced his intent to retire as vice-chairman and head of product development. He was sure the government would take over GM and run it according to a political playbook, he said, and he wanted no part in it.

Products like the new Chevrolet Camaro muscle car, which is now selling faster than the factory can make them, and the Corvette, which remains an iconic car for GM, would have been shoved aside, he feared, because they lack the "green" image politicians and the media like to see.

As it turned out, Lutz said, he was pleasantly surprised when he met with the government's auto task force. Their focus was on making the business healthy, he said, not on turning GM into a laboratory for high-mileage but low-profit "green cars."

"There was no 'We want to see your hybrid line-up' and stuff like that," he said, "None of that."

The government-run bankruptcy has left the company leaner, stronger and more competitive than it's been in decades, he said. He called GM's emergence from bankruptcy after 40 days "like having died and being re-born." The carmaker was suddenly shorn of much of its once-crippling debt, unprofitable car bands and excess dealers network.

"This was the only way that we could correct 30 or 40 years worth of decline," he said, "Much of it was our own doing."

Lutz doesn't let GM's past leadership take all the blame, though. Government policies that favored Japanese imports, making their products impossibly cheap compared to domestic cars, also did a lot of damage, he said. American carmakers were forced to compete by cutting corners and cheapening their own products.

While Lutz expressed relief that the government didn't ask about GM's "hybrid line-up," the carmaker does, in fact, have hybrid vehicles and there are plans for more. A plug-in hybrid small SUV is in the works and a source within GM recently confirmed that a hybrid-only car, something to compete with the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, is in the carmaker's longer-term plans as well.

The carmaker's environmental showpiece, the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in car that's scheduled to go on sale next year, was created largely at Lutz's insistence.

But Lutz made it clear that this "green car" stuff can't be allowed to get out of hand. The simple fact is that, especially with gas prices well under $3 a gallon, there is even less demand than usual for hybrid cars, which sell in small numbers and are unprofitable even with relatively high gas prices.

"There's about 5% to 10% of the customer base in the U.S. that desperately wants a hybrid," he said. The rest just want the best possible vehicle they can afford to pay for and fuel.

They also want great design, Lutz said, and that's something he also oversees in his newly created role. Design has become a strong point for GM in recent years, with critics and buyers praising handsome new cars like the Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Malibu.

While GM quality is now competitive, or better than the competitive, in every respect, Lutz said, the products need the added pull of striking design to make sure customers take notice. Otherwise, they're not going to take a chance on a GM car.

During his time at GM, Lutz made a mission of elevating design to a primary, rather than secondary, consideration. There's still more work to be done, though, in reworking a culture that spreads responsibility too thinly, he said.

"It's unbelievably consensus driven," he said, "and there's lots of delegation and a lot of arguing, but very nice arguing."

"Less consensus means clearer, more consistent vision," he said, "and quicker decisions," when it comes to almost everything the public can see, hear and touch from GM. For now, that vision will come from Lutz.

Edited by Z-06
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The right man for the job.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well look at that, straight from Bob's own mouth: the government doesn't want to run GM and call the shots. So those who didn't already know/believe this can can it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't wait to start seeing some of the commercials and advertisements.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Toyota is a crock of sh*t. Buy a Chevy instead."

"Lexus is a crock of sh*t. Buy a Buick instead."

"Jeep is a crock of sh*t. Buy a GMC instead."

"BMW is a crock of sh*t. Buy a Cadillac instead."

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
His body language is all wrong, the raised eye-brow makes it look as if he is lying ...

He's just trying his best to not give away that he's having sex with his new Volt. :D

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:lol: GO, BOBBY, GO! WE'RE BEHIND YOU, SIR!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they start using the "if you can find a better car buy it approach they aren't going to sell a lot of cars." Lutz isn't the right guy, he was there for the past 7 years or so and GM went downhill faster than ever. It all comes down to product, and it will take massive R&D spending on engineering to make that happen. GM always wants to be a marketing and PR company, rather than an engineering company.

GM is pathetic in compact and small car segments, doesn't have a compact SUV or minivan or small luxury car. There are too many segments they ignore, plus some that they are really weak in. Then there are segments like full size SUV where they have 8-10 entries that overlap. Bankruptcy helps clear away some of that "30-40 years of decline" but the company is being run by the same management team (minus Wagoner) that oversaw that decline, and they are making the same decisions they made in the 90s and 2000s.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If they start using the "if you can find a better car buy it approach they aren't going to sell a lot of cars." Lutz isn't the right guy, he was there for the past 7 years or so and GM went downhill faster than ever. It all comes down to product, and it will take massive R&D spending on engineering to make that happen. GM always wants to be a marketing and PR company, rather than an engineering company.

GM is pathetic in compact and small car segments, doesn't have a compact SUV or minivan or small luxury car. There are too many segments they ignore, plus some that they are really weak in. Then there are segments like full size SUV where they have 8-10 entries that overlap. Bankruptcy helps clear away some of that "30-40 years of decline" but the company is being run by the same management team (minus Wagoner) that oversaw that decline, and they are making the same decisions they made in the 90s and 2000s.

Lutz isn't the blame for the downward spiral. The beancounters are more to blame than anything. Look no further than ditzy Ftrizy's comments about not wanting to move one of the best damn cars GM has to Chevy because he "doesn't like rebadging".

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Volt will fail because the gas motor doesn't charge the battery. The 100 hp gas motor sends power directly to the electric motor, thus the Volt goes from a 150 hp car to a 100 hp car once you drain the battery after the first 40 miles. Not many people want a $40,000, 100 hp, 3500 pound car. Plus it takes over $2 to charge the Volt's battery to go 40 miles. A Fusion Hybrid can go the same 40 miles on about $2.50 of gas, so why pay an extra $10,000 for a Volt with half the horsepower.

The Volt's gas engine (or diesel if they were smart) should charge the battery, and the car should have a solar panel, and the electric motor should be at least 180 hp.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Volt will fail because the gas motor doesn't charge the battery. The 100 hp gas motor sends power directly to the electric motor, thus the Volt goes from a 150 hp car to a 100 hp car once you drain the battery after the first 40 miles. Not many people want a $40,000, 100 hp, 3500 pound car. Plus it takes over $2 to charge the Volt's battery to go 40 miles. A Fusion Hybrid can go the same 40 miles on about $2.50 of gas, so why pay an extra $10,000 for a Volt with half the horsepower.

The Volt's gas engine (or diesel if they were smart) should charge the battery, and the car should have a solar panel, and the electric motor should be at least 180 hp.

The gas engine never powers the wheels, so there will not be a drop in power whether the gas engine is running or not.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well look at that, straight from Bob's own mouth: the government doesn't want to run GM and call the shots. So those who didn't already know/believe this can can it.

I still don't like the fact we own them but... It does appear that GM can still do what GM wants and not just build green cars. Government already has control over all cars compaines via CAFE its just the tax payers currently own GM. I glad to hear this it gives me a little more hope. When the new Chevrolet Caprice (praying for it anyways) and CTS-V Coupe come out and the Z28/Drop Top Camaro I will KNOW government is NOT making product choices. Which is a good thing!

Edited by gm4life
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The gas engine never powers the wheels, so there will not be a drop in power whether the gas engine is running or not.

Facts are very elusive to smk.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If they start using the "if you can find a better car buy it approach they aren't going to sell a lot of cars." Lutz isn't the right guy, he was there for the past 7 years or so and GM went downhill faster than ever. It all comes down to product, and it will take massive R&D spending on engineering to make that happen. GM always wants to be a marketing and PR company, rather than an engineering company.

GM is pathetic in compact and small car segments, doesn't have a compact SUV or minivan or small luxury car. There are too many segments they ignore, plus some that they are really weak in. Then there are segments like full size SUV where they have 8-10 entries that overlap. Bankruptcy helps clear away some of that "30-40 years of decline" but the company is being run by the same management team (minus Wagoner) that oversaw that decline, and they are making the same decisions they made in the 90s and 2000s.

It isn't Lutz' fault that he had to answer to Red Ink Rick during those years. It also isn't his fault he has to answer to Fritz the Ditz right now either.

Really, Lutz should be running the whole show. If he was, things might be better and brighter.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I still don't like the fact we own them but... It does appear that GM can still do what GM wants and not just build green cars. Government already has control over all cars compaines via CAFE its just the tax payers currently own GM. I glad to hear this it gives me a little more hope. When the new Chevrolet Caprice (hoping) and CTS-V Coupe come out and the Z28/Drop Top Camaro I will KNOW government is NOT making product choices. Which is a good thing!

We owe them? More like GM and Chrysler owe US. And so far I want my money back from GM until they send Fritz packing.

The Z/28 was on the chopping blocks before GM got bailed out, we just saw more spyshots of the CTS-V coupe, and the only think keeping teh Caprice from being sold here is apparently Fritz.

:tinfoil:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It isn't Lutz' fault that he had to answer to Red Ink Rick during those years. It also isn't his fault he has to answer to Fritz the Ditz right now either.

Really, Lutz should be running the whole show. If he was, things might be better and brighter.

I think Lutz should run the whole show too. It would be interesting but that would give my so much more faith in GM. I haven't decided what I think of Fritz yet but I think we could have gotten worse.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Give him Henderson's job!

And so far I want my money back from GM until they send Fritz packing.

Amen, hallelujah, and hell yes!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think Lutz should run the whole show too. It would be interesting but that would give my so much more faith in GM. I haven't decided what I think of Fritz yet but I think we could have gotten worse.

It's the only way I would ever regain faith in GM again.

And you can't get any worse than Fritz because he is as bad as it gets without being Roger Bonham Smith. He's just another beancounter with the title of Big Cheese.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We owe them? More like GM and Chrysler owe US. And so far I want my money back from GM until they send Fritz packing.

The Z/28 was on the chopping blocks before GM got bailed out, we just saw more spyshots of the CTS-V coupe, and the only think keeping teh Caprice from being sold here is apparently Fritz.

We OWN them I said. I would love to see Fritz go! I also would love to get our money back. Both of which will happen someday.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's the only way I would ever regain faith in GM again.

And you can't get any worse than Fritz because he is as bad as it gets without being Roger Bonham Smith. He's just another beancounter with the title of Big Cheese.

I see your point but I figure we could have got some extreme greenie who wants to build "green cars".

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Volt will fail because the gas motor doesn't charge the battery. The 100 hp gas motor sends power directly to the electric motor, thus the Volt goes from a 150 hp car to a 100 hp car once you drain the battery after the first 40 miles. Not many people want a $40,000, 100 hp, 3500 pound car. Plus it takes over $2 to charge the Volt's battery to go 40 miles. A Fusion Hybrid can go the same 40 miles on about $2.50 of gas, so why pay an extra $10,000 for a Volt with half the horsepower.

The Volt's gas engine (or diesel if they were smart) should charge the battery, and the car should have a solar panel, and the electric motor should be at least 180 hp.

What are you talking about? My head is spinning right now.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The gas engine never powers the wheels, so there will not be a drop in power whether the gas engine is running or not.

I know the gas engine does not power the wheels, it sends power directly to the electric motor (and none to the battery). But the gas engine has a max output of 100 hp, thus the electric motor can't put out any more than 100 hp. The electric motor driving the wheels can't produce 150 hp, if it only has 100 hp of input and a dead battery.

Edited by smk4565
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know the gas engine does not power the wheels, it sends power directly to the electric motor (and none to the battery). But the gas engine has a max output of 100 hp, thus the electric motor can't put out any more than 100 hp. The electric motor driving the wheels can't produce 150 hp, if it only has 100 hp of input and a dead battery.

Extended-Range Mode:

When the battery’s energy is depleted, the Volt seamlessly switches to Extended-Range mode. In this secondary mode, electricity needed to power the vehicle is created on-board by a flex-fuel powered engine-generator. This mode of operation extends the total range of the Volt for hundreds of additional miles, until the vehicle can be refueled or plugged in to recharge the battery.

The engine-generator has the capability to provide the level of electrical power that the Volt needs for the most frequent maneuvers. However, the battery will continue to generate some power and work together with the engine-generator to provide peak performance when it's required, such as driving up a steep incline or for high acceleration maneuvers. The engine-generator will then continue to provide electricity to power the vehicle and simultaneously return some energy to the battery to replenish and maintain a low energy level. The battery will not be recharged to a “full” state by the engine-generator.

Contrary to a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the extended-range mode eliminates “range anxiety,” giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.

What did we tell you about checking your facts?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0