GM vice chairman Bob Lutz, never one to shy away from a controversy, came out with a vigorous defense of GM's SUV strategy on Wednesday.
Lutz, pictured at right with the 2007 Tahoe, was responding to critics of GM's investment in a revamped SUV product lineup, launching at a time when the market is moving away from large SUVs. Pointing out that life was good in SUV-land when the product development process for the new trucks began 3 years ago, Lutz implies that GM was just overtaken by events.

He believes that the improved fuel efficiency of the new models, plus across-the-board improvements in everything from styling to quality, will help GM to grow market share in the full-size SUV segment, even if the segment is shrinking. Whether the benefits of increasing market share in a smaller market will justify the cost of developing the new models, Lutz doesn't say.

Lutz goes on to deflect criticism that GM has all its new-product eggs in one big-SUV basket by pointing to GM's growing crossover product line. He promised a 14-model crossover line in four years, accounting for 20 percent of GM's unit sales.

We can expect to hear more on GM's crossover strategy at the Detroit Auto Show, where the company will debut its first midsize crossover.



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