If there's one thing Mr. Bob Lutz can't be accused of, it's backing down. The Car Czar will not only tell you exactly what's on his mind, but he'll also give you a chance to change it, and then tell you what he thinks of that, as well. Tuesday, at his office, Lutz met with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) -- the same group that recently gave Honda its fourth green award in a row and ranked GM seventh out of eight automakers reviewed -- to give them a chance to show what his company was doing wrong.

Lutz actually asked them -- or rather, challenged them -- to come by. The UCS charged that "with off-the-shelf technology, the automaker could build a minivan that would reduce tailpipe emissions by 40 percent -- and cost just $300 per vehicle." Lutz's response was: "Let them come and see us. If the technology were readily and easily available, what on earth would be our motive for withholding it?"

Lutz met with Dave Friedman, head of the UCS's Clean Vehicle Research program, for two hours. Both parties had agreed not to comment on the meeting, but "loggerheads" was the quoted result. Friedman said "we didn't change any minds," and it was left to GM spokesman Chris Preuss to perhaps say what Lutz wouldn't, remarking "The challenge with environmentalists is that there is a complete lack of business and technical experience from which they can draw conclusions . . . [but] we think the meeting was very worthwhile."

[Source: Detroit News]