We're here in the City of Angels to watch Fritz Henderson deliver GM's keynote address to the all us media types here at LA Auto Show. Only thing is, Fritz resigned yesterday, and for some reason interim CEO Ed Whitacre will not be delivering the keynote. Which can only mean one thing -- GM's Vice Chairman of Marketing and Communications Bob Lutz will be delivering the opening address. Are you as excited as we are? We kinda doubt it. Make the jump to read our live blog.
11:40 - Aaron Robinson made some Toyota gas-pedal jokes, Dave McCurdy explains that using less gas is good, while hurting the environment is bad. We agree!
11:41 - No sign of Lutz - yet!
11:42 - Still a little light on the Lutz. However, we get an E-offer for a 24-hour interconnection. Price? $99.99. We're going back and forth.
11:44 - Still Lutz-less, though we do wonder is Maximum Bob is backstage eating raw meat to pump himself up. Maybe.
11:45 - Here comes Lutz!
11:46 - We give Lutz a "LA Welcome." Whatever that means...
11:47 - Bob is apologizing for GM being so mum about what happened at GM yesterday. But he's not going to tell us what really happened. We laugh.
11:48 - Bob talks nice about the departed Fritz. But GM is going to stay focused on product, as is Bob's speech.
11:49 - Bob says GM has a much better foundation for success than anyone could have imagined last year.
11:50 - Less debt, less dealers, less brands and they're going to pay back the government loans. Sounds like a good place to start.
11:51 - Bob is telling cowboy jokes. No, really.
11:52 - Long cowboy jokes, as it turns out.
11:53 - General Motors will not be mentioning General Motors in any future General Motors ads. It's all about the brands.
11:54 - Despite all their awesome products, Lutz wants to talk about green technology.
11:55 - "The auto industry can no longer rely on oil for 98% of its power."
11:56 - GM's working to get China off petroleum.
11:57 - Bob's in favor of one single federal emissions standard, and while that standard is tough ("It will raise the price of a vehicle"), they are "fair."
11:58 - Lutz says there's still "gold to be mined" from the internal combustion engine, non-food sourced ethanol is promising, but really, it's all about the Volt.
12:00 - Bob drove a Volt for Thanksgiving. We really wish we'd been invited.
12:02 - The Volt's system eliminates range anxiety. Good to know.
12:04 - The Volt will have great batteries. GM considers good batteries to be a "core competency." Lutz sounds serious about this point.
12:05 - Electric motors are also a core competency. Which... makes sense.
12:06 - Get this -- Lutz just thanked Tesla for getting the Lithium Ion battery ball rolling. And sniped at others for then jumping on the bandwagon -- looking at you, Fisker.
12:07 - The Volt is going to be a "huge step" towards signifying the greening of GM.
12:08 - The Volt will first be available in California, among other markets. But they aren't announcing those markets until later. But, California is one. So take that, fly over country.
12:09 - Lutz says we're going to look back at this moment as the "tipping point" for electric vehicles and it will prove to be as momentous as the transition from horse and
12:10 - Speech over. Lutz is now taking questions... we'll just say that Bob didn't really put his heart into this speech. He sounded... bridled. As if he was mouthing someone else's words. Hopefully he uncorks it a little while
12:13 - The Volt's battery will last ten years or 100,000 miles. Uh... right.
12:14 - A new Volt battery pack should cost about what an engine overhaul would cost. Our advice -- avoid dealers!
12:15 - The Volt has been designed for all the world's markets, but they're still going to roll the Volt out slow. Just 8,000 Volts in the first year.
12:17 - Bob Lutz does not like questions about Fritz Henderson!
12:19 - Lutz is "not talking about the high-tech electrification fanatics." We never thought he was.
12:20 - The way to electrify the infrastructure is ("sadly") a federal tax on fuel. Cheap gas means fewer electric cars.
12:22 - "Mentally" hybrids have over 35% of the market, but in reality they have less than 3%. We're really going to miss Lutz when he's gone.
12:23 - All done. Bye-bye, Bob!