Guest Josh

Lutz: "'We're much smarter now"

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Guest Josh   
Guest Josh

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat , France -- It was a good two days for Robert Lutz, General Motors Corp. vice president for product development.

The automotive media applauded the Geneva International Motor Show introduction of one of GM's divisional concept cars, the sleek, all-methanol-powered Saab Aero X. And at this Mediterranean resort, sumptuously sandwiched between Nice and Monaco, Lutz presided over the launching of the Cadillac BLS, a small, European-market, entry-level luxury car designed to take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans.

The GM that Lutz and company presented here did not look at all like the troubled GM of North America, which got a bit more bad news last week when Consumer Reports magazine announced that it had chosen no 2006 domestic models among its top runners in the vehicle reliability category.

That report stung, casting a pall over GM's European celebration. But it wasn't what was really bothering Lutz, one of the global auto industry's most blunt top executives.

"I can't believe that we were so stupid," Lutz said of GM. "People talk about Toyota overtaking General Motors (in global sales), as if GM were one company. But the truth is that we had not been one company for decades. We were different companies, each doing its own thing with little regard for the other. How can you run a global company like that? You can't. It was stupid. No wonder Toyota was cleaning our clock."

The separate-but-equal approach to financing, developing, designing and manufacturing divisional cars and trucks yielded equally mediocre vehicles, higher production costs, lower vehicle quality and legions of dissatisfied customers, Lutz said. But GM waited much too long to fix what needed fixing, he said.

Full Story:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...MTGVPHMH3U1.DTL

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Northstar    11

Good read. With all of GM's parts working together, I think development time will be cut down considerably and the giant will be moving very quickly.

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Northstar    11

G5 isn't a rebadge?  Saturn Astra?  otherwise, the interview foretells of progress.

Agreed on G5, but there's no harm in rebadging a vehicle 95% of Americans have never seen in the flesh, especially one that looks as good as the Astra.

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!!!TED!!!    3

"Let's face it," Lutz said after GM's Geneva presentations. "... The Signum and the Malibu Maxx should have been the same car."

DUUUUUUUUUUUH!!!! :banghead:

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Chicagoland    2

Alot of that is the 'fiefdoms' who think they are better than the rest of GM, and have to do it 'the Brand X way'.

It shows throughout C&G, with the "Pontiac only", and "Buick should get more $$$', and especially "Saturn %&$&".

As Mr Lutz says GM is one company, not 'cliques' that think they are solo companies, and want to be #1 and steal other GM division buyers.

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Newbiewar    1

awesome read... something that would start to get Anti Domestic believers to consider... GM must admit to fault in order to win back much of its previous clientel...

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Go get'em tiger!!!!

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Dsuupr    12

I do like how we gets to the point without throwing punches.

When will GM stop doing badge engineering with their trucks?

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Newbiewar    1

they stopped already.....is the G5 really not a rebadge

its a time stopper... it keeps capacity up at the plant while the ION is stopped production... really it wont be a pontiac vehicle for very long...maybe 2 years tops...

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Cortazzo    0

I do wish they realized the obvious as far as global business procedures long before there was a bankruptcy scare. Once GM starts breaking even/small profit and Delphi is resolved the stock is going to get a really healthy bump.

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Newbiewar    1

I do wish they realized the obvious as far as global business procedures long before there was a bankruptcy scare.  Once GM starts breaking even/small profit and Delphi is resolved the stock is going to get a really healthy bump.

i agree... gm should share its successful cars with other continents... it only makes sense... I think the GTO is one of the first to get imported to the states, but it certantly wont be the last... it was an easy fix that nearly trippled plant production (IIRC)... thus one should assume that a stylistic vehicle that is relitively successful in the europe should perform well here as well... also such a global merge would also make things cheaper and make what is attractive in europe and here also should merge if the top 3 (ford toyota and GM) all sell the same in both arenas..

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FAPTurbo    1,078

awesome read... something that would start to get Anti Domestic believers to consider... GM must admit to fault in order to win back much of its previous clientel...

The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem! :)

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enzl    0

I do wish they realized the obvious as far as global business procedures long before there was a bankruptcy scare.  Once GM starts breaking even/small profit and Delphi is resolved the stock is going to get a really healthy bump.

Or, they'll be a strike and the stock will be nearly worthless in a matter of months....

I find it hard to believe that GM has JUST woken up and realized the vast global resources they've been squandering for years because of yester-think and corporate pride.

It's unbelieveable and borders on Corporate Malfeasance (for all you budding lawyers out there), based on their current situation...which a blind man could've forseen when they foisted the Delphi 'spinoff' on investors...

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Imaj    0

"I can't believe that we were so stupid," Lutz said of GM. "People talk about Toyota overtaking General Motors (in global sales), as if GM were one company. But the truth is that we had not been one company for decades. We were different companies, each doing its own thing with little regard for the other. How can you run a global company like that? You can't. It was stupid. No wonder Toyota was cleaning our clock."

Hopefully this means Buick and Pontiac would go world-wide.. Or at least Buick..

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Newbiewar    1

i think its good that lutz admits to "we" i dont know how else he would put it... but when things in the past were that stupid, lutz wasnt there... so technically he sould exclude himself but he doesnt

Edited by Newbiewar

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jry    0

Alot of that is the 'fiefdoms' who think they are better than the rest of GM, and have to do it 'the Brand X way'.

It shows throughout C&G, with the "Pontiac only", and "Buick should get more $$$', and especially "Saturn %&$&".

As Mr Lutz says GM is one company, not 'cliques' that think they are solo companies, and want to be #1 and steal other GM division buyers.

and there you go! couldn't have said it better. time to stop the "house divided" approach to the car biz. instead of the divisions duking it out amongst each other, its all of the divs. together against the rest of the auto manufacturers. who was it at gm that instituted the idea of each division competing against each other?

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ellives    0

This just shows a lack of product management strategy. A strategy should be established that is affordable from an engineering perspective and the plan should be executed. Period. No negotiating around individual pet projects. If it's not part of the strat. plan, it's out.

Alot of that is the 'fiefdoms' who think they are better than the rest of GM, and have to do it 'the Brand X way'.

It shows throughout C&G, with the "Pontiac only", and "Buick should get more $$$', and especially "Saturn %&$&".

As Mr Lutz says GM is one company, not 'cliques' that think they are solo companies, and want to be #1 and steal other GM division buyers.

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guionM    0

Alot of that is the 'fiefdoms' who think they are better than the rest of GM, and have to do it 'the Brand X way'.

It shows throughout C&G, with the "Pontiac only", and "Buick should get more $$$', and especially "Saturn %&$&".

As Mr Lutz says GM is one company, not 'cliques' that think they are solo companies, and want to be #1 and steal other GM division buyers.

Actually, he wasn't refering to Buick-Saturn-Pontiac-etc. He was refering to Holden, Opel, Saab, and GM-NA as separate entities worldwide acting as fifedoms.

Holden was actually extremely profitable till the past year or so as GM integrated them with everyone else. Lutz had to go over and personally take over GM-Europe in order to bring them around.

Now Opel is now Saturn (Saturn as you know it is dead), Holden has been all but reduced to a volume RWD engineering studio for General Motors, and only North America is seeing the benefit as far as I can tell (though I'll freely admit, I may be wrong in the end).

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Newbiewar    1

Actually, he wasn't refering to Buick-Saturn-Pontiac-etc. He was refering to Holden, Opel, Saab, and GM-NA as separate entities worldwide acting as fifedoms.

Holden was actually extremely profitable till the past year or so as GM integrated them with everyone else. Lutz had to go over and personally take over GM-Europe in order to bring them around.

Now Opel is now Saturn (Saturn as you know it is dead), Holden has been all but reduced to a volume RWD engineering studio for General Motors, and only North America is seeing the benefit as far as I can tell (though I'll freely admit, I may be wrong in the end).

Guy its great to see you post here... i've some what abandoned cz28.com due to its lack luster and new unknowledgeable members

but yes, I agree, much of GM's technology should be spread around (at least in its own company) jeez... GM shouldnt have to develop the same car twice just for it to be neglected of engeneering designs and as well as marketing lanches... GM has really missed the boat as far as how big they really are and what great resources they can weild... if GM puts its mind to being #1... it will have its way :pokeowned:

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Mikko O    0

Lutz is a good visionary guy. It encourages me when he makes

statements that were smarter now. I look forward to the Saturn

Aura and Outlook.

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evok    0

Holden was actually extremely profitable till the past year or so as GM integrated them with everyone else.

Not entirely true - Holden was loosing money because sales for RWD were dropping and the plant was not at profitable capacity.

Lutz had to go over and personally take over GM-Europe in order to bring them around.

Not true - GME Opel integration had complex political and structural issues prior to Lutz arriving at GM that has taken since about 1999 to resolve. Forester from BMW was brought in to fix the wrongs.

Now Opel is now Saturn (Saturn as you know it is dead)

and has been on paper for some time but there will not be a one for one product sharing across the board any time soon.

Holden has been all but reduced to a volume RWD engineering studio for General Motors,

Holden was always a little job shop picking up the hand me downs across from Opel.

and only North America is seeing the benefit as far as I can tell

There has been no benefit YET?

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