Automotive journalists the world over are saddened and General Motors communications staff are breathing a sigh of relief today: Bob Lutz is retiring. For journalists, the loss of perhaps the most quotable executive since Hank the Duece means they will have to dig a little harder for stories. For the PR staff, it means a little less scrambling to spin the story whenever Lutz goes off script. Lutz has been Vice Chairman for Global Product Development at GM since 2001. Over his 45-year automotive
Lutz: "Forcing us to alter the fleets to hit some theoretical average won't change what consumers want, or what they'll buy."
Lutz claims on an Internet posting that the U.S. buying public dictates what the automakers build. American drivers usually prefer vehicles with larger engines, often in vehicles larger than they really require; trucks and SUVs have been a large seller for both American manufacturers and imports. However, many import brands have "credits" stored up from previous years that help them meet the current CAFE requirements that the domestic brands do not posses. The CAFE standards currently peg any gi