• Aug 28, 2007
The General's chief product guru, Bob Lutz, responded to questions regarding GM's reliability in the company's FastLane Blog's most recent video Q&A chapter. According to Lutz, who cites comparisons to company "H" and company "T" as being perpetual reliability yardsticks, GM has aimed at making every component throughout the automaker's brands "bulletproof," including the engines, transmissions and every mechanical part imaginable.
The move began about four or five years ago, and despite high ratings in J.D. Power and Associates initial quality reports, Lutz explains that all the money spent was in an effort to "shoot for infinite life," as opposed to what Lutz calls, "100,000-mile bogies."

Lutz goes on to recount his aim of making Buick the American equivalent of Lexus, which was just confirmed with the recent release of J.D. Power and Associates long-term reliability ratings. Buick sat pretty, right next to Lexus. Mission accomplished Bob. Congrats.

[Source: GM FastLane Blog]


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  • 73 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      the drive trains of GM have been very good for years BUT things like $500 electric window motors that do not last in hot areas of the country are still a problem
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't always agree with everything he says but I cannot deny that Bob Lutz has been a tremendous force of change and an asset at GM (as well as the other automakers he's worked for).

      I also respect Lutz as a man who isn't afraid to tell it like it is, even when it comes to his employer. Hopefully when he retires he will have left a big enough impression at GM to keep the designers in charge and keep the company focused on stylish, quality products.

      As for Buick. I have a 1992 LeSabre with 282,000 original miles still going strong on the original components. Not uncommon for 3800 V6 cars. No squeaks, rattles or leaks either. If only all old GM products were as bulletproof.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I still drag race my 200k mile 93 Z28! I've replaced the alternator.
      • 7 Years Ago
      out of curiosity, where'd he get the nickname of "maximum bob"?

      lutz FTW, though. i like (from what little i see) how he's pushing the company to improve.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well you go ahead and let one experience ruin your perception of a brand. For each story of one poor guy and his troubles with a domestic vehicle, there is one for another poor guy and his troubles with a foreign vehicle, and how he had to pay $500 for a distributor instead of $100. How long did you hold out the first time you got laid? I bet you didn't let that ruin your sex life for the rest of your time on Earth...

      BTW: MAXIMUM BOB FOR PRESIDENT!
      He's a much better candidate than Obama...
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Mike @ Aug 28th 2007 6:11PM

        My brothers Honda CRX, had to put 3 transmissions and 5 alternators in it

        Good thing that brother didn't buy a Chrysler van. He wouldn't have bought another domestic again.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ Devin
        I'm sorry, but I fail to see the vast experience the not even a full term senator from Illinois has. A third of the way through his first senate term, he decides he's got the bonafides to run the country? Has he ever served in a management position, in either the private sector or public service? Has he been a principal in running a company, dealing with health care / pension issues that would give him insight into dealing with the supposed health care 'crisis' we have? Does Obama has the experience of having served in the Marines, as Mr. Lutz has, providing insight on what actually transpires in military operations? I believe those answers are no, no, and no. Please, explain to me what credentials Mr. Barack Husein Obama has that would give credence to his serving as leader of the free world. Or, I guess I should have saved time and just suggested you "Check your ignorance at the door before you post something stupid like that again."
        • 7 Years Ago
        While I agree that Bob Lutz is a very very good leader, NEVER say that he would make a better actual president than a presidential candidate, especially Obama. Bob Lutz does not have foriegn or domestic policy experience, doesn't know how to solve the domestic healthcare problem, and most certainly would not be able to successfully pull American troops out of Iraq. Check your ignorance at the door before you post something stupid like that again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo... There WAS a problem with GM quality? Did he just admit that? We cut the cancer out of our transmissions, we cut the cancer out of our motors, we cut the cancer out of all the major mechanical components.
      Now all you have to do Mr. Lutz, is cut it out of the consumer's perception of GM, because you can claim to improve everything about your product but it won't do you a damn bit of good if people have experienced the nightmare of owning one of your terminally ill pieces of crap. The cancer has spread Bob, can you remove it all?
      • 7 Years Ago
      While I agree some GM cars are very nice and resale well, others don't. Look at the Isuzu brand (which I am a fan of). All they sell is rebadged Chevy Colorados and Trailblazers, yet their resale value sucks. I can go get an 04 Ascender LS 4wd for under 11000 dollars with only 45000 miles on it. That is the same thing as a 30000 dollar Trailblazer 4wd new.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Same can be said about the Toyota Corrola and the Chevy Prisum clone.
        Its all about the name. Isuzus engineering is held in higher reguard than the vehicles they produced. I`m not talking about the rebadged GM vehicles. The True Isuzu vehicles.
        Its cool to drive a Toyota or a Honda much like a fad.
        If I wanted a Japanese vehicle I pick a Mazda or Subaru over either of former.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sorry I over looked quietness.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Heh. The Grand National was many wonderful things, but "subtle" was not one of them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The pushrod vs. OHC argument *would* be senseless if GM (or anyone) built an OHV V6 that equaled rival DOHC V6s in terms of smoothness, quietness, high-end output, and sound quality. But they don't.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The problem, naturally, being that a 400-horsepower V8 is only relevant to a handful of niche products.

        Building world-class halo cars--which GM has shown repeatedly that it can do--is one thing. Putting the same painstaking effort into your bread-and-butter powertrains is another.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Would the twin turbo Buick Grand National be cheating?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Um, that engine would be the LS series. Pound for pound, dimension for dimension, you'd be hard pressed to beat it. Especially when you consider the cost of maintaining / repairing it vs a DOHC engine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just wait three years from now. The Chevy Astro Van and many other 20 year old designs will not even be considered. I love that Bob came out and said this. He is the only one in the auto industry willing to speak his mind.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This never ends. It's like groundhog day. 1.Cars are crap. 2.US companies claimed they are fixed. 3.You buy it & it is still crap. Over & over for the last 20 years....

      Friend of mine bought some form of American car last year. BRAND NEW. BRAND new. 18K miles and already fallen completely apart. You name it, it's broken.

      Yep, that quality was fixed alright- hahaha.

      Honda here I come...
      • 7 Years Ago
      "The odds are still in Toyota's favour."- Barney

      If you factor in legacy cost your right. Our business model is outdated in a global economy. Only government can fix it with a national health care system and a code of eithics embraced by the CEOs in our corporate culture.
      The strip and flip fast bucks are destroying an infrastructer that took our forefathers years to build so we could live better than they did.
      We embrace and glorify a make that at best is marginly better.
      Past accomplishments are water under the bridge. I once owned a Chevy Vega. It was an inexcusable POS of a car. Fords` Pinto was twice the car.

      Toyota was better yesterday than it is today. Way back in the 70s they fell apart but were mechanicaly better than our makes. 80s and 90s Toyota was good but style aways eluded them. Toyota is going on the path GM has been on. Toyota will fare better, their government looks out for them and so does ours.
      I will always tell people to drive what you want its your buck. Just have an open mind and shop them all when car hunting. Name shopping only hurts yourself.
      I myself, know what build this country so I shop American if at most getting a slightly inferior product depending on model. I don`t think Toyotas go good with salt and pepper.
      Rome fell due to ignorance!
        • 7 Years Ago
        wofan "Rome fell due to ignorance!"

        "..fell to arrogance!"

        Toyota is starting to follow suite as GM had. To be big shouldn't mean to be less. I am a Toyota, Gm and Ford owner. All serve me well but now I wonder if the future of Toyota will be the same as the latter. Produce volume and ignore quality. Being on the top is becoming a gauntlet to those who sell most, rather then the best.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In April of this year, my 8 year old Buick Century had the entire gauge cluster replaced because the odometer stopped working. Now it's end of August and I need a new ignition module, headlight relay control module, front brake calipers (they're seized), and the cruise control indicator light only works intermittently. This year, I will have spent more than $2000 just to keep the car running. I do meticulously follow a maintenance schedule so these repairs are on top of routine maintenance. Every year since the warranty expired, something that should not go wrong has. I'm trying to nurse this car through to its 10 year but may run out of money first. My Buick is the absolute biggest lemon I've ever bought. Even worse than the 1974 Pontiac Astre I had. So I WAS a GM fanboy.

      If Buick is the best GM can do, the bar has been set pretty low.

        • 7 Years Ago
        AJK, you missed the point. The Buick Century was the #1 JD power ranked car back in 1999 in its class. My point was that I don't have a lot of confidence in JD Power's rankings. Though GM's cars look a lot nicer (the Buick is was a good looking car for its time) and fit and finish has definitely improved, GM still has a way to go. Using 4 speed transmissions in Buicks while their competitors have gone to 6 and even 7 speed automatics tells me the Buick is still a bit behind in the technology and their persistance to constantly improve their products. Though there's nothing wrong with using "tried and true" technology, GM has not given indication that their value for money quotient is being raised. With all due respect to Mr Lutz, given that the reliability issue was also being addressed back in the late 90's, it will take at least another generation of cars from GM to prove to me and a lot of other former GM car owners that GM really does mean business this time around. As hard as they appear to be trying, GM is still a big company and making sure that very small widget in a car is going to be absolutely reliable is a daunting task.

        You are correct. I did end up getting a crappy car. What's to say that the current Buicks are not going to be just a scrappy 5 (not 3) years from now? We'll have to take a "wait and see" on this.
        • 7 Years Ago
        So you have a crappy 3 year old Buick. Did you not read the line "The move began about four or five years ago" and see the link about how Buick has tied Lexus in the JD Power 2007 Vehicle Dependability Study? Lutz cannot fix the problems of the cars manufactured 8 years ago. Get over it.

        I'm not a GM-guy and I applaud the turn-around in GM quality. It makes for better competition between automakers which benefits us consumers who get better products in the end. The industry wasn't like this 8 years ago.
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