• Jul 2, 2007

Looking like a talk show host running through his mailbag, Bob Lutz answers one question that readers have repeatedly asked: "what's up with all the concept cars that never go into production?" His answer touches on the Buick Velite and Centieme, Chevy Bel-Air, Volt, Cadillac Sixteen, public image, alternative energy, and he boasts that GM is possibly the best carmaker in the world at putting concept cars into production. It's 3:09 of no-nonsense Lutz. Click the "Read" link to watch.

[Source: FastLane]



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  • 9 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Because it had a four speed automatic.
      Because they don't have a 500-750hp V12
      Because GM can upgrade the sc northstar with the TVS supercharger to ~500 hp 500ft-lbs, and use the 6L90
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM can't make these cars because, quite frankly, they can't make them cheap enough to sell in North America. Margins are razor thin here and shareholders are unwilling to sacrifice short term pain for long term gain. Especially given the dearth of any gain--short or long--on the part of the domestics

      GM (and Ford) can and always have been able to build halo cars that sell for fat profits. What they were unwilling to do (and now cannot do, given their lack of capital) is build a loss-leader economy car. A car has to be either cheap to build (GMDAT) or easily amortizable over a huge production run (BoF trucks) before they'll throw development and materials dollars at it.

      This is why we don't see the Euro Focus, why the transplanted Opels have been poorer than their European counterparts, and why trucks have nicer interiors than cars. The halo cars are a victim of this--the margin can't be made.

      The problem with this is that if you cannot make a competitive entry-level car, you're not going to hook buyers for the long term. GM and Ford sort of realize this now, but it's too late. If they had thrown money at the Cavalier and Escort back when they had the resources, they could have buried Toyota long ago. Instead, they took the short-term profits road and suffered for it.

      During the Escort/Cavalier era, Toyota, by comparison, flushed tonnes of money down the tubes at the entry level. The Corolla didn't have to be as well-built as it was, but it got people on the gravy train. They did it again with Lexus (selling at a loss for future profits) and most recently with the Prius. GM's middle/upper management (and it's cover-your-a_s culture) would never have put profits on the line like that for dimestore cars like the Cavalier...

      ...and now they haven't the capital to sink into haloes.
        • 7 Years Ago
        People always use that lame "it costs too much to put concepts into production" excuse, but what about all the money the auto companies lose because no one wants to buy their ugly, boring production models?

        I'm talking GM, Ford rental fleets here, plus all those Jeep Commanders Chrysler has sitting in parking lots in Detroit (no one ever liked the Commander btw - another example of a crap production car that looked like vomit and didn't sell).
      • 7 Years Ago
      How much longer are going to have to endure Lutz as GM's front man? If GM is serious about change then they need to start at their executive level!
      • 7 Years Ago
      i dont want to watch this video. why didnt they make the cadillac sixteen?
      • 7 Years Ago
      He looks like George Bush.
      Ben K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz has GM products on the right road. If he has his way, he will go out in a blaze of glory. At seventy five years young, he's not ready to retire. His best is yet to come, the Velite was sweet, but it probably wouldn't any better as a RWD, than the G6 convertible. GM doesn't really need any more low volume cars, like the SSR, XLR and Sixteen. The General needs to have more cars like the coming Pontiac G8, the RWD Zeta platform will TransForm the GM lineup. GM finally has a great car in the $25K-35K, with enough supply dealers can't jack up the price. I saw a Solstice the other day with a $5,000 markup and it wasn't even a GXP. Pontiac needs the car czar's help, it hasn't been the same since John DeLorean left.
      • 7 Years Ago
      they dropped the V-16 because it was that old fashion technology, push rods and the posters will want to know why it was not DOHC with VVT.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lutz must be drinking his after-shave. Chrysler has put the most concepts into production, followed by Ford, then GM.

      Nissan/Infiniti is the hands-down foreign car brand winner. It consistently produces production cars that very closely resemble the concepts.