• Apr 10, 2007

Bob Lutz is determined to rattle all the cages he can in order to be heard above roar of the CAFE and CO2 standards debate. First, he said that forcing automakers to raise CAFE standards 4-percent per year would raise the price of a new car by $5,000. That was in response to Bush administration proposals. Now he's putting car enthusiasts on notice, going on the record saying that GM's RWD models would be put on hold.


[Source: Chicago Tribune via Winding Road]


Telling the Chicago Tribune, "We've pushed the pause button. It's no longer full speed ahead," Lutz sounded the alarm. The new Camaro (due in 2008) and Impala sedan (2009) are meant to help GM out of its profit rut, but both are built on GM's large RWD platform and Lutz doesn't see a way to get 30% better gas mileage without a serious amount of investment (which would be passed on to consumers). Lutz declared it's too late to stop the Camaro, but said "anything after that is questionable," apparently including Camaro derivatives and the Impala sedan. Other cars that would be affected by the "pause" include a performance-oriented midsized Pontiac, the Buick Lucerne, a compact Cadillac, and high HP versions of the Solstice and Sky roadsters -- essentially, a full assortment of cars specifically meant to put GM back in the green.

All of the carmakers are waiting to see what the EPA does in response to the Supreme Court's ruling that the EPA can regulate CO2 standards (which they haven't done up to now), Lutz says GM will decide on its rear drive cars when the government settles the CO2 and CAFE debates.

Showing just how tense he is on the new emissions storm, Lutz said that "if we legislate CO2 from cars, why not legislate we take one less breath per minute since human release capricious amounts of CO2?" Even the new trio of compacts introduced at the show won't help -- Lutz saying "small-car mileage only counts toward CAFE if you build them here," and you can't build small cars here at a profit. . . . [The] domestic fleet is where GM needs help."



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  • 94 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lets hit the 80's again man. Get rid of Putz, give Pontiac a RWD car about the size of the old f-body's so they don't weight too much to go along with the Camaro, then do whatever you need to the other cars to save more gas.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think Lutz is whining, though I do thing a gas tax is a better solution than trying to regulate C02 directly.

      Most of the rest of the civilized world has gas taxes and it has lead to a proliferation of small efficient diesel cars that get 50+mpg all over europe. They probably use half the fuel/person as Americans.

      Though $5 gallon gas would kill GMs RWDs even faster than carbon regulations or Cafe updates.

      Serious conflict in Iran will get us $5 gallon gas fairly quick.

      I know my next car won't have a V8, I will be buying with a close eye on efficiency to insulate from future conflict.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's a pretty specious argument. It never stopped them from building Suburbans w/6.0LV8 or supercharged pontiac that get 18 MPG. Why it would affect the RWD cars is a good question.

      Did they plan on selling more G8V8 than GTOs? Or more Impala RWD than current Impalas?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yet another fine example of how the global warming craze is going to utterly cripple our economy, while China and the rest of the world blaze ahead pumping out enormous emissions in pursuit of international economic dominance.

      Shame on the left for their ignorant and blind acceptance of the new global warming religion. And curse them the day we're all driving Chery's while having noodles shoved down our throats with chopsticks.

      I am being patently facetious however the point remains tremendously pertinent. The one step GM was about to take on its path to renewal in support of the North American economy is being flatly denied by a bunch of tree-huggers who are worried about the few extra beads of sweat an additional degree in temperature will bring FIFTY years from now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is all political yelping. Both from Lutz and Bush.

      Want to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions? Why not work on the reducing gridlock issues in our large cities. Work on forcing road construction crews to close down lanes for weeks instead of months or years. Work on safe, reliable mass transit to reduce the number of cars on the road every day. Can you imagine how much better your fuel economy would be if you actually got to drive 60 for your entire highway drive every day?

      I agree that the auto manufacturers need to do their part and there should be some attainable level of CAFE improvement and emissions reduction every 5 years. It should be a goal that is cost effective to the industry and transparent to the consumer. We need to stop laying all blame on one thing, person, or industry and start looking at everything.

      On top of that, Lutz doesn't need to threaten holding products people want until he gets his way either. He needs to start holding the government responsible for doing their part too. There's nothing a politician hates more than being called out for not doing their job. If you just cry, no one is going to care except the people wanting to buy your product- that's not good business.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I see the problem.... Lutz seemed to skip over the whole, learning about engineering thing on his way into the automotive world. He's got an impressive education in the world of business. I gotta say, as a Ford fan, i'm glad they've got an actual engineer at the wheel. If Mullaly said anything like what Lutz is quoted as saying in that article, my faith in Ford would have gone right out the window.

      Just when I was starting to gain some respect for the progress GM has made...
      • 7 Years Ago
      3.

      "What???? Since when??? CAFE is broken down into 2 categories: cars & trucks. The OEM's numbers come from the average fuel economy of the cars sold in the US in that category. Porsche builds every one of their cars in Germany, and they pay millions every year to ignore CAFE standards. Isn't the Prius built in Japan?"

      From NHSTA "Are import vehicles treated the same as domestics when it comes to CAFE?
      The rules are different for passenger cars and trucks. There is a statutory “two-fleet rule” for passenger cars. Manufacturers’ domestic and import fleets must separately meet the 27.5 mpg CAFE standard. For passenger cars, a vehicle, irrespective of who makes it, is considered as part of the “domestic fleet” if 75% or more of the cost of the content is either U.S. or Canadian in origin. If not, it is considered an import.

      Beginning in 1980, light trucks were administratively subjected to a similar two-fleet rule. However, given changes in market conditions (the “captive import” sector of the fleet had become insignificant), NHTSA eliminated the two-fleet rule for light trucks beginning with MY 1996. Therefore, there are no fleet distinctions, and trucks are simply counted and CAFE calculated as one distinct fleet of a given manufacturer."

      source http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/cafe/overview.htm




      • 7 Years Ago
      "14. Cars that burn gas emit carbon monoxide (CO2), a green house gas, and people exhale carbon dioxide (CO), which is not. If Lutz and his people GM don't know the difference then they should go out of business!"

      MON-oxide: ONE OXIDE. DI-oxide TWO OXIDE. Cars emit CO2 (carbon DIoxide see because it has TWO) AND CO (carbon MONoxide) through combustion.

      If you don't know the difference, maybe you shouldn't post.
      • 7 Years Ago
      His comments are sad excuses for poor business planning. Blame everyone else! I wonder if GM makes the huge bus that lutz wants to throw everyone under. This is just pathetic. Funny that the some of the european makers are whining to the same tune. Its true you cant force customers to go green, but dont complain about it to the us! Come up with a way.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz is a baby! Oh boo, they are telling us to make cleaner and more fuel efficient cars so I'm just going to start crying and not make any cars at all.

      What are his comments and threats supposed to accomplish? Not making those cars will accomplish nothing more then just sinking GM further and faster.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Personally, I don't care if the rear-wheel-drive cars are put on hold. I live in the Northeast, and I appreciate the good bad weather traction I get with front-wheel-drive. I currently drive a Pontiac Grand Prix, which is a front-wheel-drive car. I worry about a rear-wheel-drive Pontiac G8.

      Do people really want rear-wheel-drive specifically, or do they just want good handling, and believe the rear-wheel-drive provides it? How much "superior handling" does the average driver really need, anyway? Most people, even driving "enthusiasts" drive most of their miles on simple city and state roads with few severe twists and turns. Good front-wheel-drive handling is good enough in the vast majority of cases. Rear-wheel-drive isn't THAT much better.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "I don't care about RWD in the snow belt. I sold my BWW after 12 months because without chains it was worthless with more then 3" of snow. J"

      You need:

      1) Learn how to drive
      2) Snow tires.

      My G35, RWD, 6MT, 260HP has no issues in the snow with weight (~200 lbs) in the trunk and snow tires on all 4's.

      My Mustangs were fine as well with the same setup.
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