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In a two part interview with Forbes magazine during the run-up to that NAIAS, Bob Lutz had a great deal to say about all things GM. The first part centered on CAFE and the costs of energy efficiency, the Volt, and what Mr. Bob would rather have lead consumer choice in the mileage debate. Hint: instead of politicians making laws, his suggestion rhymes with "tas gax." He also says the Volt "probably won't be a flawless launch."

The second part focuses global sales, the truck market collapse, and design, with Bob claiming that "Everything we're doing is to meet this new standard of [being the] absolute winner in its class in exterior design and interior design. When we put the vehicles against the competition in the clinics, they must win by a wide margin on exterior appeal as well as reach." But don't take our word for it. Bobus Maximus is always better in his own words, so click the link to check them out. For those of you hoping for a new RWD Impala, you might not want to read this if you're in a good mood.

[Source: Forbes]


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  • 47 Comments
      Ben K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Captain Lutz always likes to flex his muscle.
      The fact he doesn't like the CAFE proposals is making him rethink the product lineup. Product demand is consumer driven and should not be determined by politicians. McDonalds offers alot of variety on their menu, even to the point of criticism from health food advocates. But, it doesn't stop them from offering Big Mac's, double Quarter Pounder's and Supersize fries. They offer more alternatives though, salads, chicken sandwiches and yogurt for the health conscience. But, most opt for the traditional burger and fries. GM is no different, their model lineup must consist of a variety of vehicles. Small, midsize, large. V8, V6, 4 cylinder, etc. Diesel, hybrid, fuel cell, electric and conventional gasoline powered pushrod engines. But, consumers still choose to buy bigger, safer, powerful vehicles. The trend will gradually shift, but at a slow pace. Maximus Bob knows consumers still prefer the traditional menu of choice, not what Uncle Sam says they need! GM can achieve this delicate balance, because the "car czar" ain't no sissy, he won't back down in the face of the challenges ahead.
      • 7 Years Ago
      For MPG, FWD and RWD are, by themselves, like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. 2-3 MPG aren't really an issue. The REAL issues are: (my humble opinion)
      1: Giving less money to OPEC and Chavez
      2: Becoming more Environmentally responsible
      3: Reversing a trend of mediocre autos built here in the good ol' USA.
      4: Better handling in poor weather.
      The Chairman of the biggest car company (for now) shouldn't be greasing the skids, preparing us for (yet another) mediocre auto launch. He should be LEADING the way, telling the customers how EXCELLENT this new car will be. He should be setting the expectations for a FLAWLESS launch. This will stimulate his employees to strive for Excellence. Anyone remember the "Relentless Pursuit of Perfection?" Lexus employees heard it, believed it and made it happen. We CAN'T be satisfied with just another difficult, technically advanced launch.
      In the 70's they told us they were making the cars we wanted and have since lost half their market share, in the 90's they told us the US quality was 'approaching' that of the imports and in the early 00's, they told us Hybrid Technology was 'a passing fad." Here we go again!!

      It hurts to say, but I still believe they are laughing at comments like Bob's overseas.
      • 7 Years Ago
      While I believe myself that higher gas taxes are preferrable to higher CAFE standards, it irks me whenever I read of an automaker or an auto exec expressing that belief because they don't do a damned thing to try to persuade either lawmakers or the public. Lutz, you've talked the talk, now let's see you walk the walk.
      • 7 Years Ago


      Will not a FWD Impala take away sales from the Malibu?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm all for a gas tax. But the tax should only be on gas guzzlers when purchased. How can thoser at poverty lines, who can barely afford the gas at $3, going to be able to handle an additional tax? And to force the economy further down the toilet because Lutz and his US counterparts can't seem to make effecient vehicles seems idiotic. "Hey, I can't make a car that gets good gas mileage. So in order to stave off demand for gas, let's make gas more expensive! Force poor people to walk! Driving cars ain't for sissies or the poor!!"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Forbes do anews story on me Im not rich Im fighting the rich...for the poor people Global FUTURE
      JUNE 26 07
      To PEP BOYS OWNER
      AND ALL INVOLVED
      AND CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
      PEP BOYS
      3111 WEST ALLEGHENY AVENUE
      PHILADELPHIA, PA 19132
      PHILADELPHIA COUNTRY

      To the owners of Pep Boys, you brought this global battle on to me and the people who would benefit using the brand FUTURE to realize their ideas. This is being destroyed because of Pep Boys oppositions over the years I had created the brand FUTURE concept applying for the rights since 2000. I have built global value to this brand.
      A representative of Pep Boys had indicated working with me a few years ago, and then a new agreement was drawn up that was contrary to the original stance. I was disappointed because I had relied on the word of the original intent. Money and power of your company is at issue here. The FUTURA tire of 1964 is separate from the brand FUTURE. If this company wanted the FUTURE brand, why hadn't they applied for it before?
      My intention is to have the brand FUTURE to have a global infrastructure that would help people. I would very much like to be part of this. A meeting with Mr. Jeffrey Rachor would be appreciated. Please recognize the global benefits of working with me.
      If these rights go abandoned, Chantecaille has the Fraud agreement of 2004 set up to get global rights of the people to take this agreement which was set up by my own lawyer in an agreement that was misleading to me.

      Your oppositions no. 91157538; 91157768; 91158277; 91158509; 91158520; 91158786; 91159159; 91164461; 91164602; 91165913; 91170501; 91173632 are destroying me and other people globally and their rights to use FUTURE for their own ideas.
      Discovery Period to close: 8/3/07; Plaintiff's 30 day testimony period to close 11/1/07; defendant's 30-day testimony period to close: 12/31/07 and Plaintiff's 15-day rebuttal testimony period 2/1408 is in progress.
      Please respond to me concerning these attacks as soon as possible
      Note the countries that countroled there technology was left behind of the countries that shared there technology wanted to work with other countries and people Please repond asap Stop your attacks on us the people and our Future

      Respecfly submited

      By
      Kent G Anderson
      FUTURE sm/t,
      925 N Griffin
      Bismark ND 58501
      home 701-223-0639
      founder/president sole proprietor
      futurevisionaries.com & futuremotors.com
      Global future brands licensing world

      • 7 Years Ago
      re: fuel economy RWD vs. FWD. looking at the dodge charger SXT with a 3.5L, 250 HP V-6, it's EPA rated at 17/24. to look at a comparable impala, you should be looking at something with comparable HP, like the LTZ, which has a 3.9L, 233HP V-6. it's economy rating is 17/25 (from the highlights on the LTZ page. it states these are GM estimates, and EPA ratings are not yet available). there should be no appreciable loss in fuel economy between FWD or RWD.

      and as far as FWD cars being lighter than RWD, realistically, the weight difference in negligible. the base curb weight of the charger SXT is 3800 lbs, where the impala LTZ is 3730.

      feature creep is the biggest reason for weight gain, not drivetrain layout. look at the base curb weight of a stripper accord LX vs. a fullly loaded EX. there's about 350lbs difference. electric motors for power windows/seats/mirrors/locks add quite a bit of weight.
      BAM
      • 7 Years Ago
      What Buick needs is something to slot above the LaCrosse. It appears it will compete head on with the ES350. Now they need their own version of the G8 (like the Chinese Park Avenue) to compete against the GS.

      Then let Caddy compete against the LS, the SC and the large SUV's (GX and LX).

      I say let the new Impala be what the Lucerne is today.....large FWD. Chevy would be the main competetor to Honda and Toyota (with no RWD cars).

      Let Buick, Caddy and Pontiac take the RWD platforms. I even believe the new Camaro should have been a Pontiac (Trans Am or Firebird).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well, how about that! Old Bob says "The Volt won't be a flawless launch." That kind of lazy, non accountable thinking and speaking has led to your company's demise!! It it up to you to MAKE SURE the launch is FLAWLESS! If the engineers and rank and file hear the top dog setting low expectations, what do you think they'll design and build??

      They are laughing at that comment in Germany and in Japan. Soon the Chineese will also join the chorus!

      Hey Bob, some of us are rooting for the return of the American car dominance. Would someone put this mediocrity minded loser out to pasture already?
        • 7 Years Ago
        And if he said it was going to be a flawless launch, when the first minor glitch appears, people would be saying 'but Bob said it was going to be a flawless launch!'.

        Lutz was being realistic and honest. New product launches are never flawless.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Would you prefer that he used the skillful tactics used by Toyota when they launched the Tundra? You know, the truck that's changing everything. The truck that will be flawless, stronger, more powerful, better economy, able to haul Mack Trucks on it's tailgate and able to pull the USS Ronald Reagan out of the water and onto drydock all by itself and will never, repeat never have a recall?
        I think not.
        • 7 Years Ago
        What are you smoking? The Germans build the worst first years cars on the Planet. They pray that someone else will take the honors from them. And Bob has made the bigest change then anyone in the auto business (even than Goshen). GM is producing some great interiors just look at the CTS.........
        • 7 Years Ago
        Relax. I think Lutz was refering to the heavy dependence on technology that will be a major part of the Volt. He's not talking about assembly or component quality. The learning curve is a bit steeper when you are pushing the technology envelope.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's good that a domestic has finally realized that driving is an experience, and that it's not just the exterior (which a driver typically sees for perhaps 30 seconds) but the interior (which a driver might sit in for over an hour) that matters. I think the Cadillac CTS is a great success for being a more "complete" product. Hope GM the best, and if they can do the same as Toyota with a price advantage, then I think they'll be #1 again in no time. Fortunately for GM (and other domestics), Americans are forgiving people, just look at all the junky Chrysler minivan's that get gobbled up each year.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I don't disagree with you at all, but I'd like to borrow one of your statements to make a point of my own...

        "It's good that a domestic has finally realized that driving is an experience" Yeah, and with the all-but-certain demise of any return to a RWD model lineup, it will continue to be an awful one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ icu8***** "but FWD was created to combat the "issue" of driving RWD in snow."

        Where the hell did you get this mouthful of drivel from? Please do your research.

        Gräf & Stift built the first FWD car in the late 1800s (no mention of snow).

        In the early 1900s there were a few experimental race cars built, looking for an advantage in racing. (still no mention of snow). That path was eventually abandoned.

        Space was the primary concern for the transverse FWD configuration when Sir Alec Issigonis invented this form of packaging. P.S. The 1959 Mini Mk1 was the first car with this configuration.

        When US auto makers finally embraced fwd, ecomonics was the primary reason. It was substancially cheaper to make than the standard RWD layout (rumored savings approx. $1500 per unit).

        The weight of the engine & trans. on the drive wheel was a lucky coincidence that resulted in better traction in show and rain.
        • 7 Years Ago
        98% of the auto buyng public don't give a darn or a rats behind if the car is rwd, fwd, or awd. The major concern now is economy, price, and dependability. The Impala delivers on all three. My wife after being married to a car nut for over thirty years can't tell the differeced between my rwd STS and my fwd Impala co. car. The only thing she cares about is how much it costs between fillups.

        Chevrolet, with one exception, the Corvette, is the entry and volume model of GM. Why would they sacrifice sales of their best seller to attract the few that would actually buy RWD? Maybe one model, the SS, but would that be cost effective? You just move up to the Next offering, the G8.

        Mr. Oak, you did'nt mention the Deusenburg and Cord. American technology and luxury at it's best. FWD, paddle shift, and turn following headlights from 1926-1937. And then the 66 Toronado and 67 Eldorado that at the time, everyone thought FWD was the future. Albiet too expensive and too different from the norm. Now everyone has FWD and now think RWD is the wave of the future.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz has been a waffler on RWD for 20 years. He might have a good eye for design, but he is technically weak and doesn't give enough weight to the importance of the driving experience in the purchasing decision.

      He killed the LX platform at Chrysler before the takeover by Mercedes-Benz. It took Tom Gale to resurrect it, and he commented in a recent interview that Chrysler was able to produce the RWD variant of the LX platform (Dodge Charger/Chrysler 300/Dodge Magnum/Dodge Challenger) for about the same cost as the FWD design and it commanded a $ 3,000 price premium. Ergo - bigger profits! So why not get on with the Zeta car, GM?

      Using the government CAFE standards as a reason for not building the RWD full-size Chevrolet V-8 sports sedan that everyone has been clamouring for for years is just a cop-out! If GM can't see the advantage of filling this niche, they are doomed to further market share erosion!
        • 7 Years Ago
        GM does have a RWD V8 sport sedan coming to market. It's called the G8. It just won't have a Chevy badge. The new CAFE requirements will force manufacturers to produce their large volume sellers, ie; Impala, as FWD models due to the greater efficiency (greater interior volume, lighter weight) it offers.

        For all the posts blasting badge engineering on Autoblog, now there may not be a Chevy version of the G8 and people are complaining. Pontiac will have the RWD sedan and sport ute (G8) and Chevy will have the RWD coupe (Camaro). The opportunity to buy a RWD GM vehicle will still be available, just not with the nameplate once may initially desire. Include the RWD Cadillac models GM produces and one would be hard pressed to find a manufacturer who offers more RWD choices in as many varieties.
      • 7 Years Ago
      RWD, FWD both have a place, for the majority of drivers it won't matter. Weight? Simple more, no way around it. Interior packaging, less no way around that either, raised floor etc: already mentioned.

      Just because a vehicle has RWD or FWD does not mean it will handle any better just because of placement, it's in the total layout of the vehicle, suspension, tires, all of it, that RWD SUV sure handles well on the course.

      If the majority of folks buy vehicles as appliances they won't know or care about the difference.
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