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Maximum Bob has had enough of automotive experts who question the guile of domestic execs, and as usual Mr. Lutz isn't afraid to share his thoughts with all who are willing to listen. At his recent speech at the Center for Automotive Research's annual management conference, Blogger Bob opened a GM-sized can on experts referring to Big Three executives as "Detroit Dinosaurs". Mr. Lutz asked if three independent companies with independent boards could all be "nearly imploded" at the same time because they're all the same level of stupid at the exact same time. He then mentioned macroeconomic factors (currency, labor costs, etc) that hurt the domestics while leaving imports unscathed.

We're definitely not among the "experts" to which Mr. Lutz was referring, and we tend to agree with our fellow blogger Bob on this point. Making cars and trucks is one of the most complicated businesses on this planet, and no matter how good or smart you are, it's hard to compete on an un-level playing field.

[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      That pose is straight out of Star Wars...

      "You have no idea of the power if the Dark Side!" - Darth Vader
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM, Ford and Chrysler cannot build a subcompact, compact, hybrid, or midsized vehicle in the U.S. and make a profit. There are many reasons for this, many of their own making, some not. If Toyota, Honda and the rest had to build these vehicles under the same conditions they would not be able to build what they build today. If and when the Japanesse Gov't changes it's monitary policies the game will be different. If you do not believe that this is controlled you can reference a article by the Japanesse Minister of the Economy in 1994 that stated that the gov't needed to step in and devalue the yen or many Japaneese companies would cease to exist. Japan builds car here because they can make money doing so, if that changes they will leave. Simple really.

      roar
        • 7 Years Ago
        Memo to roar:

        In 1994, Japan was in the midst of the mother of all recessions. I know - I lived there at the time. They needed to devalue their currency in order to pull themselves from the brink. If they hadn't done that, there would have been a depression. No doubt about it. What the Japanese goverment did is what any responsible goverment would have done. It's called taking care of your citizens.

        Of course, many of the cry-babys here would have liked to have seen Japan fall into a depression, just so their beloved domestics could continue producing
        turds, and their UAW buddies could continue screwing their employers blind.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow I pwned this commentary lol. Yes I agree with you about Ford their neglecting US cars - they could just bring the Euro Focus over here and it would make a lot of people happy.

      And if they built a lot of Euro Focuses here they could ship some back to Europe and benefit financially from the low dollar as well. But apparently they're too busy building pickup trucks to worry about the little bitsy car market.
      • 7 Years Ago
      while it does sound like they are whinning all this time, the plain field has never been leveled

      At least GM has some nice product coming out adn planned to come out inthe coming years so I believe they are on the rise.

      I still feel that Ford and Chrystler have their work cut out as they are likely a good 3 years behind GM on the comeback.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually I think Ford is on the right tract. They are making excellent products with great values and great looks. They just have the worst reputation to overcome. That's what's holding them back.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree with Ford making "excellent new products", with the exception of their fascia. Honestly, offer an option to make that cheap, ghetto plastiicy fake chrome grill REAL METAL/chrome or TAKE IT AWAY. Nothing in this world is stopping them from offering it as an over-priced option for Christ' sake. Honestly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      MAXIMUM LUTZ FOR PRESIDENT!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Laughable Lutz is at again with his Òbring-it-onÓ attitude (Where have we all heard that before, and how much has it cost us to date?). HereÕs a person who has held some of the highest positions in the automotive industry yet has some lame excuse of why things didnÕt happen, or have happened the way they have. HereÕs a suggestion: Why doesnÕt Lutz stepdown from his position and provide his services as a consultant? IÕll tell you why, because other than a couple of token gestures in asking of his services the phone would go silent as there are so many other directions that US automobiles can go given new blood.

        I want the US to recapture its position, but it will take an entirely new range of players, and new management style, to do so. People like Lutz, and certainly Nardelli, are no longer the players of choice.
      • 7 Years Ago
      He is referring to the East and West coast anti-Detroit media that have no clue about what GM has been doing of late. It will swing back when GM starts growing sales again next year. They will get through the UAW negotiations in a better position and next years numbers will start to show the results of this and real sales transactions, not the fleet numbers that are showing year over year declines. They will be happy when the stock is climbing back up. Bob is fighting mad and he knows what he is talking abut. He has his soldiers all lined up for the comeback and he has given marching orders to kick a$$!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Alex could not have said it any better. It takes time to put the right plan in action and they have done it as fast as they possibly could. The results are now being launched into the market with great results. Here is the beef - Car and Truck of the Year for 2007- at the NAIAS as voted on by all of the leading auto journalists independent of their magazines. The numbers will come as more new good stuff is launched.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Um ok Monsieur Wishful Thinking. Hasn't Bob Lutz been talking about doing all that for something like the last five years or so? Where's the beef?
        • 7 Years Ago
        @MikeG - it usually takes about 4 years from a car to go from conception to production. So we are just now really seeing the fruits of 4 years ago's labor. And if you look at the enclave, g8, 08' cts, aura, malibu, etc things are lookin pretty darn good as far as the general's product line up goes. as these new, better models continue to come out, its completely reasonable to think GM will see an increase in retail sales
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob is basicly right. While Ford and Chevy have made more than their share of blunders and Chrysler has been damage by German management, all three of these companies suffer a common disadvantage of being in the US and of providing generous pension and health care (Unions contributed to this). European manufacture do not have to pay health care. The last I read that amound to something like $1000 per car cost. This is why, years ago when Hillory push national health care GM supported it. So if we want to help the competativeness of our car companies, support national health care or atleast support a $1000 / car import fee for health care on all imported cars. Sound to mr like a win win plan.
      That would help get health care to 45 million americans who don;t have it too.
      Ben K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mr. Lutz speaks the facts as they are, like it or not. Our government does nothing to support the domestic industry, while Asian governments give subsidies to their industry. In addition to exchange rates with foreign currencies, always favoring the imports. While our policy makers continue to support foreign investment in the U.S., the domestics are ignored. Call it the global economy, but this is like a football game with two different sets of rules. One set of rules for the visitors and one set for the home team, but the visitors always get the advantages. Asian governments don't allow an unlevel playing field, why should we? They add excessive tariffs on imported products from the U.S. and our politicians just pile on more regulations. Making it more difficult to compete. You can't blame these factors on Detroit or the UAW. Quality is no longer a factor or productivity. Biased reporting does favor the foreign makers, as if we didn't already have enough to overcome. The obstacles are enormus, if this was a war, we would have lost a long time ago. For over 30 years we have had no support from our government and now to add injury to insult we allow illegals into this country to take what decent paying jobs are left. Millions of American jobs were exported the past two decades and now we import workers? This is insane! When will American's wake up and realize we are being destroyed from a lack of willingness to say NO to foreign exporters. Why do they have totally unrestricted access to our markets? They are like spoiled children, never satisfied. Once the domestic auto industry is gone, our manufactiring capability will be zero! Is fair trade is not too much to ask? Just wait until China starts exporting an unlimited amount of vehicles to the U.S.A. in the next couple of years. It's not just the auto industry, look at the hi tech industry, most of those new jobs are going to India. American's need to take pride in buying American made products, the money spent will benefit our economy and build a better future for your children. Most can't support their family working at Wal-Mart, Home Depot or McDonalds. Be American, buy american. Our future depends on it! We need more American's like Bob Lutz, Lee Iacocca and Lou Dobbs.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There is that little thing called healthcare, the Japanese government subsidizes their auto manufacturers healthcare, therefore little cost is passed on to the auto buying public.

      Our government has done everything it can with trade agreements that pit foreign workers making $1.00 American workers, to destroy our entire industerial community. Only a fool would not see this cannot continue or we will all be out of jobs. Instead of bringing the rest of the world's workers up, it is bringing the middle class in America down. Until we jump the fools in Washington DC, and force them to make meaningful changes in the trade policies that now cripple American workers, our countries industries will continue to erode........soon we will be beyond changing courses, it will be too late. We should all be on the phone to our congressmen demanding changes, not someday but IMEDIATELY!!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Car executive's salaries and perks are out of this world.
      UAW has bled the companies nearly dry with retirement and work rules.
      Yes, US industries are not on a level field. And whose fault is that?
      Maximum Bob might as well have lead us into Iraq for all the spun intelligence the Big 3 use to make their products.
      Make cars that people want to drive...Ford is number one in Europe yet won't sell the same cars here. Whassup wit dat?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Personally, after owning a BMW I won't ever willingly go back to Detriot- I'm *no* Toyota or Honda fan either- I want a great car, not a cheap toaster, thank you. And I've discovered that great cars are in fact actually made.
      If American manufacturers ever want to excel, then hey, **DO IT**, lead like leaders, and make great cars that handle awesomely, are put together well, are innovative in form, and then stand behind them faithfully.
      Please stop aiming for the status quo already. As long as I can remember Detroit has been producing two dimensional automobiles... I may not ever buy one again, but I would at least like to be proud of the cars America produces. Stop the paper thin badge engineering, and as for Ford, PLEASE stop offering the US last decade's engineering while Europe gets the new stuff. sheesh. That's how I see it, anyway.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The government already meddles in the free market via the speed limit.
      Reasonable and prudent is fine. Most people won't even see over 100mph. Once the veil of, 'I need to have sufficient reserve capacity...' is removed (a triumph of fear over logic). People will see that you can drive a 100hp car, if the transmission doesn't suck.
      See the outgoing ~105hp (it was underrated) Jetta TDI DSG, the top speed is ~120mph.
      http://www.caranddriver.com/shortroadtests/7817/volkswagen-tdi.html
      http://www.caranddriver.com/shortroadtests/11034/short-take-review-2006-volkswagen-jetta-tdi-2006-volkswagen-jetta-tdi-specs-page2.html

      small engine + big transmission = good.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I don't think that speed limits is meddling in free market (unless you make a huge leap that the oil companies will make less money when cars are supposed to drive at lower speeds where the vehicle isn't getting overly inefficient). The gov't does meddle in the market with hybrid subsudies (and now $12K hydrogen vehicle subsudy for Honda), standard airbags, crash test standards, and anything like that that I missed. Not that people aren't better off with at least some of these things. It is just that those things seem like much more *direct* meddling by the gov't into the free *market*. Speed limit and market don't seem to be very related. Maybe less 200mph cars sold because of the speed limit?
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