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Bob Lutz - Is he making the grade?



  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    I don't think will shrink as much as you might think. I think the transition period we are looking at from FWD to RWD will have a negative affect at first but when Buick, gets all their ducks lined up they could return back to normal and sell in higher volumes. Of course those volumes won't be as high as they were in the past but they will be more profitable per unit IMHO if a wrench isn't thrown into the plans. ;)

  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    What RWD? Ok maybe the Lucerne because there is no longer a large FWD platform but the Enclave and LaCrosse will remain FWD (hey, just like Lexus) and I also believe volume of the three main models will go up but never hit the huge volumes of the past. BUT still profitable.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    Mr. 62vetteefp, you are forgetting about the RWD 2010' Buick Velite Sedan also ;)

  • Is the Velite official? I usre hope so as it is gorgeous, but have they confirmed?
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    The Velite, will be a 2010 RWD Sedan built on the ZETA, according to Motor Trend, who got a leak. I naturally would assume they need the RWD sedan for the high volume to make a niche 2-door hardtop convertible cost effective. I expect it to be built then or the following year. This is the prediction if the the insider is correct. The Velite, sedan isn't official from GM, but came from a reliable leak. The Convertible wasn't mentioned but is a logical assumption by me. ;)

  • That sounds great and it is needed. I am still kinda flabbergasted that the dealers turned down the Statesman - which they desperately need.

    I would add though, MT is the absolute worst for coming up with "scoops" that are not based in reality.
  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    >The Velite, sedan isn't official from GM, but came from a
    reliable leak. The Convertible wasn't mentioned

    Hope the convertible doesn't leak :P
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    I know that a new LaCrosse is coming based on the Eps 2. Enclave is here soon. Now what the 3rth/4th model/s are is the question.

    Not a large FWD car because there is no platform for it. I forsee one/two models based on zeta. Whether it is called Lucerne/park Avenue/Velite/whatever does not really matter.

    I hope it is a larger 4 door sedan called Lucerne and a 5 passenger 4 door or 2 door convertible called Velite.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    Well pal I have been a subscriber to Motor Trend off and on since I was a teenager and began buying them off the news stand at the age of 8 or 9. I would say they are 75-80% accurate on their "leaks" and those won't happen on Velite Convertibles "irnmdn" :P

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Is Lutz making the grade? He passed the "make stylish and appealing cars" test, but so far he seems to be bombing the "make efficient cars" test.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    "Buick will never produce "cheap" cars again."

    Bob Lutz on Buick

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    I will believe that when I see it, touch it and drive it.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Honestly, even if you did you would not believe it.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    The '08 CTS, Malibu, and Corvette suggest that he is.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Just bringing the topic back to the top to see what happens.

    In my book there's no longer any doubt that ol' Bob is doing what they brought him in to do. The only question is if they did it in time and I'm beginning to think the answer is yes.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    3 years earlier would have been even better ;) Coulda made sure the LaCrosse and Lucerne were a bit more styled. Both have high quality interiors but a bit understated.

    Also could have had better interiors in the Solstice. While it was the first car he really could do something with he had not "kicked" the GM "system" into a different mode of acting.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    You don't hear this from me very often but I agree with you word for word.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    From today's Automotive News...

    "DETROIT -- Bob Lutz, the former Chrysler Corp. president who was hired at age 69 to lead a product renaissance at General Motors, is retiring at the end of the year.

    Lutz, 76, is GM's vice chairman of global product development. In a statement, the company said Lutz will become vice chairman and senior adviser April 1. Lutz will continue to report to CEO Rick Wagoner...

    GM said its global powertrain chief, Tom Stephens, will replace Lutz as vice chairman of global product development. Stephens, 60, will report to COO Fritz Henderson. Stephens is currently executive vice president of global powertrain and global quality. In his new assignment, Stephens will maintain responsibility for global quality..."

    Lutz, who turns 77 on Thursday, Feb. 12.

    For purposes of this discussion, then, the question now becomes, did Bob Lutz make the grade? I'd say that although GM would have almost certainly had to file for bankruptcy without the recent government "loan," that Bob Lutz did about as well as anyone could have been expected to do under the circumstances. The headwinds he faced included a stubbornly embedded corporate culture that strongly resisted change; the UAW, which is also highly resistant to change; a relatively limited budget, due to GM's weakened financial condition; too many brands, given GM's reduced market share; damaged brands, as Lutz eloquently once referred to Buick and Pontiac; and a bloated dealer network that's protected by state laws.

    Did he do everything brilliantly? Well, even if he did a good job overall, which I beleive he did, that would be an exaggeration. For example, he held up introduction of the LaCrosse, which was the replacement for the Century and Regal, for about a year, because he didn't like the design. He ordered modifications to the design which was developed before he arrived at GM, but the current LaCrosse has never sold well. Another example is that, until about a year ago, he didn't believe in the viability of hybrids. Eventually, he became a strong backer for the Volt, but did his influence delay hybrid development within GM?

    By the way, I saw the redesigned 2010 LaCrosse at the Washington Auto Show, and it looks very sharp. I think it has what it takes to succeed in its segment, if potential customers will even bother to consider a Buick again.
  • GM should take Vauxhall,Opel, and Saturn and consolidate the three different divisions. they should all sell the same product under the same brand name in different markets. Opel should become the surviving moniker/brand and the cost of the different brands is dramatically slashed.

    This same principle should be applied to Chevrolet and GMC, they both sell the same product lines to similar core demographics but have different brands and dealership networks. Chevrolet and GMC should merge with Chevrolet being the surviving franchise.

    Hummer and SAAB should be grouped together and sold to am emerging automaker looking for a foothold in several markets. With a little investment both Hummer and SAAB can become showpeice brands.

    I personally would save Pontiac as its lineup does not overlap and caters to a sportier segment than any of GM'S other brands. I would keep Pontiac at least for the midterm and consider taking the brand international if GM's fortunes improve, if the company still didnt reach profitability the brand most likely would have to be axed.

    The above suggestions would cost way less than discontinuing a brand, that would involve dealer lawsuits and hefty costs of anywhere to $2-$3 billion as seen when oldsmobile was discontinued in the late 90's.

    Selling SAAB/Hummer

    Consolidating Saturn/Vauxhall/ Opel into just the Opel Brand

    Merging Chevrolet/GMC into Chevrolet

    7 brands will be whittled down to two brands. clearer marketing and definition can be discovered and synergies will arise. the company will be on a solid footing with a more manageable company, poised for future growth. If this plan is not followed and GM decides to close brands and severely mismanage their divestment we might not see the company survive another three years.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Although Bob Lutz had announced his retirement for the end of this year, apparently he has bee asked to stay longer, to help with GM's emergence from bankruptcy. This should answer the question of whether he's made the grade.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    "General Motors' Bob Lutz will stay on with the new version of the automaker as head of not only product development but also GM's brands, marketing, advertising and communications."

    Lutz Stays On With New GM; Heads All Things Creative (AutoObserver)

    Heads All Things Creative - guess that means he'll be handling the financing too. :P
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,206
    Well, the rebirth of slick isn't going too well. Right after the announcement of being back, Bob took to the 'ol foot in the mouth approach by announcing the G8 will live on as the Caprice. This actually was a good idea, too bad he wasn't on the same page as Henderson and the rest of "new" GM as they're killing the car all together or perhaps sell the car to police departments as such, again IF they decide to keep it around after Poncho's last bow. One thing for sure, he will be good for quotes. I do think he is wearing too many hats and will be stretched to lean to have any real impact - need to concentrate on one area, two max, and groom people to take over, kind of like Harley Earl grooming Bill Mitchell with a Larry Shinoda in the wings.

    I would have thought Lutz would've tried to get his stalled auto company off the ground again.
  • From everything I have read about him, Lutz is the last of the great car guys. He calls it by his gut feeling, which has been mostly spot-on. G8? Look at what used Australian GTO's still sell for--Lutz was if anything ahead of his time. Unfortunately every car in the future will be designed by a commitee, and only with government-motors approval.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited March 2010
    GM announced that Bob Lutz will retire May1, at age 78.

    It's difficult to assess his legacy. He was certainly a colorful character, who didn't mince words. I think he was a positive influence on GM, but his actions unfortunately didn't save GM from bankruptcy. Maybe no single individual could have saved GM by the time Lutz joined the company.

    His comments were humorous, at times, and his outspokenness was refreshing. I hope he continues to comment on the auto industry in his retirement.

    Your thoughts?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    He gets an A for effort, and a C- for results. GM cars and trucks look a lot nicer inside and out than they did a decade ago. Yet, he paid too much attention to nichey halo sports cars and not nearly enough on improving the unglamorous bread-and-butter stuff that actually pays the bills.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited April 2011
    Just when you thought Lutz was gone, he's back with a book attacking company finance departments, US business schools, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh while including plenty of digs at socialists and the left-wing media.

    "Often wrong, but seldom in doubt."

    Sounds like a fun read. At the book stores on June 9.

    Bob Lutz To Glenn Beck: “Eat Your Heart Out. Volt Is The Future.” (MotorTrend)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    More book excerpts in the Wall St. Journal.

    On the upstart Japanese:

    "The Japanese weren't burdened by legacy costs—pension, health care, or any of the other fixed obligations that burden a company that has existed for more than half a century. Effectively turbocharged by a closed domestic market and a weak yen, it was easy for the Japanese to set up nonunion facilities in Southern states, using handpicked workers, all young and all healthy. They also got some lovely tax breaks for building facilities."

    On Saturn:

    "And herein lay the big mistake in the creation of Saturn: In order to preserve its sanctity, it was given its own engineering, manufacturing, legal staff, and so on. This massive structure was to be supported by the sale of just one compact car: the Saturn S1 four-door sedan, which resembled a mini-Oldsmobile, was neither ugly nor beautiful, and offered average performance and fuel economy."
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    GM has hired Lutz back as a part-time consultant. Does this prove that he's making the grade, that he's made the grade, that GM is looking back instead of forward, or that a 79 year old can still add value? Do consumers really care?
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Don't know that I know the answer to that.

    I did find Lutz's book kind of strange. It certainly sounded like him but he'd throw "facts" that weren't so and go back and forth between , "yeah we built some suck cars there for a while" to saying, referring to the same time period say "our cars were as good as the competition."

    I still don't know what to make of him but he keeps life interesting and certainly a car company seems to put out better product with him vs. without him.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,206
    As with fezo, can't answer that. The water's too murky to tell.

    On the one hand is the reach-back due to the design / stylists needing a kick in the teeth / butt, which could be considered in some circles good?

    On the other, same thing EXCEPT is there no direction, no one in the current crop who can handle the job, which is BAD?

    In any event, should get some good 'ol foot-in-the-mouth quotables pretty soon...
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