Bob Lutz on Rover, Toyota, the Chinese market, and the world's best sports car...

The UK's Channel 4 had the opportunity to sit down with Bob Lutz - General Motors' head of product development, for those living in seclusion - and started the interview by comparing him to Jeremy Clarkson. WTF, you say? It's the dominating physical presence and bountiful opinions of both men that causes the interviewer to draw a line between the two (we're guessing that the views of each on the Buick Lucerne would still serve as a useful means to distinguish them).

Being a Brit-centric outfit, one of the first questions asked by Channel 4 is that of Rover's future. Despite Lutz's prior ownership of several MGs, he doesn't seem interested in dragging his current employer into a bail-out of the failed British automaker. But the big guy does seem to have some sympathy for Rover's plight, stating that he "sheds a tear" for the brand and says that it was the British car for "non-poseurs".

GM's product - that which is built in both the US and in Europe - matches up to Toyota in a variety of attributes that are properly lumped together under the heading of "build quality", according to Lutz. Bob says that nothing in Toyota's line-up "excites me as a car guy", and claims that the same is true for Lexus as well.

Check out the rest of our play-by-play after the jump...


China is something that seems to worry Lutz quite a bit, and he assesses the situation as "the whole western industrialised system is in a battle for survival against the growing Asian powerhouse." Maximum Bob says that the current wage gap between the West and East is not sustainable, but no indication is given as to which way things will tip.

On the topic of the world's best sports car, Lutz used to say that it was the Viper - but he now believes that the second-generation snake has "gone sideways" (we're assuming that this isn't in the power-oversteer-full-opposite-lock sense of the term), and thinks that the Corvette has taken the top spot. Sure, accuse him of bias, but consider from where he currently draws his paycheck.

There's plenty more from Lutz in this interview - the guy sure knows how to talk - so make sure to hit both Part 1 and Part 2.

[Source: Channel 4]

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