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General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is likely counting down the days until the end of this month. Come May 1, 2010, Maximum Bob will retire from his post in Detroit, supposedly for good. The guy has around twelve lifetimes of experience charting the waters of the auto industry, and as such, has a thing or two to say about his time with both The General and Chrysler, as well as some of his juicier quotes from the past. AOL Autos correspondent Kevin Ransom recently sat down with Lutz for a quick interview.
While no one will be shocked to hear that Lutz is most proud of his work on the Chevrolet Volt, the guy did offer a few insights into the workings of one of the world's biggest car manufacturers. Some of the suits at GM were against bringing the extended-range plug-in to market, and not just because of the company's experience with the EV-1.

In the interview, Lutz says that GM was previously committed to fuel cells as a solution to everyone's fossil-fuel woes, and the company was dumping plenty of cash on R&D in that direction before he managed to steer the Volt into the limelight.

And what about climate change? Lutz famously voiced his disbelief in the theory that CO² emissions from vehicles contribute to global warming. When Ransom asked if he had changed his opinion, the soon-to-be-retired Lutz simply stated that he's not the only skeptic out there. We'll miss you, Bob.

[Source: AOL Autos]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      With Bob's exit only Chris Liddell can save GM from itself. DimWhitacre will be long gone when the Lutz product pipeline goes dry and if Liddell is anything less than the next Mulally then GM will be in a world of hurt once again in about seven years.

      GM made more headway in its product viability under Lutz than it did in the previous fifty years. His only mistake is thinking that the new beancounters running the joint will continue to think the way he does. Their IPO will go well and they'll eventually pay back the government ('cept for the GMAC stuff). But unless they find a way to continue making progress on the product front it'll be 1998 all over again. 2016 Aztec anyone?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Quote: ""Lutz simply stated that he's not the only skeptic out there.""


      Unfortunately, money talks louder than hard science, and Obama's financial backers at Goldman-Sachs Bank stand to make billions brokering carbon credits in support of this faith-based religious mythology being foisted off on the American people.

      Goldman already has the brokerage set up (Al Gore has another) and is only waiting for passage of Obama's "cap-and-trade" bill to start raking in billions.

      The Wall Street banks sure got their money's worth when they bought the last election for Obama.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Whew, I never thought Bozo BoB would ever retire. All the BS and propaganda about him will hopefully die away now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      He will be missed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll never understand why this guy is lionized.

      He was one of the guys at the controls when GM augured into the ground after stalling. On his watch GM went bankrupt and is now losing taxpayer dollars after having flushed all their investors' money down the toilet.

      All of his vaunted projects were either outright market failures, or niche market mediocrity. Detroit needed to build cars that could beat Camrys and Civics, but instead they kept churning out the latest Vega and with a new name (Cruze, Cobalt, etc.)

      The Volt is STILL vaporware. A multi-billion dollar last-minute Hail Mary when the home team is down by four touchdowns. Worst of all it's OUR MONEY they're blowing on this fantasy now.

      Meanwhile Bob flies off in his gold-plated jet, with his golden parachute … to hang out in luxury with every other exec who screwed the American Investor right into double-dipping into the wallets of the American Taxpayer... and we praise them?

      Please.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Highly rated? By whom? The automotive press maybe, but obviously not with the audience that REALLY matters: the consumer. The market rules, but GM still believe "marketing" does.

        GM should have just died in 2008, and never seen a bailout. As it is, they stand as a barrier to entry for any new American automotive company that wants to be truly innovative in the mainstream market. A zombie propped up by government subsidies and outright gifts (which, by the way they are burning in a bonfire based on their recent financials.)

        GM had 40 years to build a small car and they've yet to succeed at any attempt. Do we really think the Volt will change that?

        It is not bias to say that this emperor wears no clothes. GM failed. Capitalism without failure is like crime without punishment. We should not be hailing as heroes those who are reality failures.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Look at the utter trash GM was selling in 2001 before Lutz came in. Look what they're selling now.

        It wasn't enough to save the company, because decades of mismanagement (and suicidal UAW contracts signed by that mismanagement) had already made the collapse inevitable. Even if Wall Street and Greenspan hadn't accidentally the whole economy.

        But he made GM product a bright spot again which is all a guy at his position could possibly have done.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What Chuck said, with a cherry on top.

        Lutz presided over some of the worst cars in GM's and Chrysler's history. The man knows about cars what I know about quantum mechanics, very little in case you're wondering. I remember seeing an interview of the guy. He was sitting in a sort of GM museum and was looking at an old Cadillac which he, himself, was saying was pure crap. Yet it was allowed to come to the market anyway. Lutz is responsible for many examples like that.

        GO fly your plane and enjoy your golden parachute Bob and hopefully you'll be replaced by someone that loves and knows cars. An Italian designer, a Japanese engineer and a non union worker. Those are the things missing from the American auto industry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wrong on so many levels. Lutz was not around when GM quality was tanking, and was never in charge of financing. And you are amazingly clueless if you think the Cruze or even Cobalt were of the same quality as the Vega. Quality at GM has improved vastly under his watch, and were it not for the finance department that just kept the bleeding at wide open they'd be even further along. Caddy and Buick are highly rated for the few products they have. And what will you say when the Volt goes on sale? Maybe they fabricated the footage? Hate to break it to you, but the Volt does exist. Fantasy coming true, evidently.

        Too bad you are so biased that you spew out such nonsense.
        garyd
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree! The man is a "character" in an otherwise dismal group, but his stature as far a accomplishment is way overblown.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chuck . . . the Volt is a reality, does perform well (see the video) and I, for one, plan on buying one if I can afford it.
        http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/clips/green-garage-2011-chevy-volt/1188266/
      • 5 Years Ago
      The man is now retired, has boatloads of money, and his own fighter jet.

      Be afraid. Be very afraid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lutz is by far the greatest w*nker in the car industry. He is simply a dumb, ignorant t*sser !!
        zapperdude60
        • 5 Years Ago
        @wwwgraham
        Well said, but anyone who says crap like "government motors" isn't going to be swayed by logic; just like the "birthers" or the "death-panelists."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bob Lutz is one of the best car guys the world has ever seen. Some of the cars he was involved with developing were the BMW 3 series, Ford Sierra, Ford Explorer, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ and WJ), the TJ Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler's "cab forward cars" and the new improved RAM truck back in 1995. Can anyone doubt that we would have a worse Malibu and a worse Buick today if Bob Lutz wasn't there. Chevy Volts are now in pilot production. If one is a car enthusiast, how can one not celebrate a career like that???

        As far as all this "government motors" crap, guess what? THEY"RE ALL GOVERNMENT MOTORS! Once upon a time, the government sent Bob McNamara and the "Whiz Kids" into Ford Motor Company to save it from collapse under a senile Henry Ford. What about the Japanese Ministry of International trade basically running the export policies of all the industries including the auto industry? What about the state of Saxony owning VW and initial development of the people's car by the German government? What about the French government involvement with Renault and then bailing out Japanese Nissan? What about the Korean government bailing out Hyundai and Kia, prohibiting foreign companies like GM, Ford and Daimler Chrysler from buying them and then the government merged them.?

        I appreciate Bob Lutz's service to America both as a marine and a car guy more than ever. The ignorance of many so called car enthusiasts is equal to the rest of American ignorance now days. Urinate on the good guys and worship the corrupt because they got better PR.
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