By on October 23, 2009

My name is Robert Farago and I invented the nickname “Maximum” Bob Lutz. I crowned Bob with the title at the New York Auto Show, standing next to GM’s all powerful Car Czar at the urinal. I had no idea that a man could take that long to take a piss. You could spend GM’s entire development budget on niche vehicles in the time it takes Maximum Bob to empty his bladder. With similar results. I’m not saying Maximum Bob is old and decrepit, but when he offered to prostrate himself in front of the Presidential Task Force on Autos, he was asking them to fund an operation.

You may have heard Maximum Bob go on and on and on about the perception gap. Very few people realize that Bob actually suffers from failing eyesight. I’m not saying he can’t tell the difference between a Chevy Malibu and a Honda Accord. Oh, wait . . . I am.

Seriously, Bob Lutz will tell you straight out: General Motors makes the world’s best automobiles. I mean, now. Wait . . . NOW! Hang on . . . NOW! Here it comes here it comes give us $50 billion give us high tech research subsidies give us tax breaks for our factories bailout our union health care give us a $10 billion retooling loan and . . .  NOW!

So why don’t people buy GM products instead of them American-made furrin’ automobiles? As Bob might say, it’s the stupid customers, stupid. Of course, calling your customers stupid is stupid. But now that taxpayers own GM, calling Maximum Bob stupid for calling GM customers stupid is stupid. You never know; he might go and blow a billion bucks building another Chevrolet SSR, just out of spite.

As we all know, Maximum Bob is no longer GM’s Car Czar. He’s surrendered the keys to the executive jet to become the nationalized automaker’s marketing maven. Which is a bit like hiring a cavity to promote fluoride. Or putting the Titanic’s first mate in charge of selling cruises to Antarctica.

But you got to admire Maximum Bob’s chutzpah. His first campaign challenges American car buyers with the slogan “May the Best Car Win.” Little known fact: he cribbed that campaign from The Detroit Lions’ “May the Best Football Team Win.” Personally, I would have gone with Monty Python’s “It’s Just A Flesh Wound.” But then Bob and King Arthur grew up together, and you gotta respect your homies.

I suppose no roast would be complete without mentioning Maximum Bob’s infamous “global warming is a crock of shit” remark. Clearly, Bob was trying to warn overzealous environmentalists about the disadvantages of trying to reclaim energy—and thus money—from freshly disgorged excrement. Who better to issue that kind of heads-up than the man in charge of developing HUMMER?

The Truth About Cars has an annual Bob Lutz Award. We give it to the car executive whose statements are so far divorced from reality they make a promise that the sun will rise in the west an entirely credible prediction. There’s no question that Maximum Bob will win again this year. And for that, we salute you Bob. We will miss you. We hope you’ll enjoy your bankruptcy-proof pension as much as Aveo owners enjoy their GM product.

Wait; this isn’t your retirement party? Well then let me put it this way . . . When the history of GM’s turnaround is written, the name “Maximum Bob” will figure prominently. Note to Lutz: you’ll find it in the large-print, fiction section.

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39 Comments on “Robert Farago Roasts Bob Lutz...”


  • avatar

    Wow – not that I’m complaining, but what brought that on?

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    It’s called a roast. Not beef, though.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    That wasn’t a roast that was a rant.
    C’mon RF write something original, that the people want to read, as you reach your final days on this blog.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    If anyone should be a roaster of Maximum Bob it should be you Robert Farago. Lutz the Putz will no doubt go down in automotive history as the ultimate expression of the Peter Principle. Despite his completely miserable GM contemporaries he manages to stand out owing to his big misdirected mouth.

    I am totally amazed he wasn’t given the same treatment as Red Ink Rick by the automotive task force and if anything has assumed an even larger role in the ongoing disaster that is GM.

    Lutz remains the poster boy for all that is wrong with GM’s executive cadre.

    Only a fool would characterize potential customers as suffering from a perception gap.

    When the final story is written and the fat lady has sung Lutz’s complete incompetence will only be overshadowed by his misplaced public commentary. No one in my memory has ever made a bigger fool of themselves in the public business arena while at the same time managing blunder after blunder and topping it all off managed to remain employed. Truly a remarkable story on all fronts.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    RF, that wasn’t a roast. That was flambé.

    (Edit – Not that I’m disagreeing with your treatment of the dish, mind you. A chef can only work with the ingredients he’s given. But if you’re wondering why they didn’t invite you … yeah, that’s why.)

  • avatar
    lahru

    WOW! Leave Robert Lutz alloooonnee!

    Why do you hate Bob Lutz?

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I thought it was lovely.

    Probably a bit different from what Jean Jennings will say.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    That was a roast? I thought it was a documentary.

    I’m with MB on the global warming thing.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    “If the shoe fits”, they say….

    Those brogans were perfectly sized….

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Is it really necessary, Robert Farago, to make fun of someone’s medical problems because you don’t like the way they manage a corporation? Did you ever consider, Robert Farago, that visually impaired and/or older men with similar medical problems might happen to read this blog and be offended at the way you make light of people’s health issues? You’re not getting any younger, Robert Farago, and you may wind up cursed with the same medical problems that you find so goddamned funny. Can’t wait till next month!

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    I’m actually thinking Bob Lutz has a legitimate cause of action here.

  • avatar
    grog

    Was there anything new here? Oh, right, there wasn’t. Same ole, same ole.

    Lutz is a putz, we get it. Nothing more to see here people, move along.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    Is it really necessary, Maxwell B. XLIX, to use Robert Farago’s full name in each reference to him? Did you ever consider, Maxwell B. XLIX, that the purpose of a “roast” is specifically to mock a person for their own personal shortcomings, and that no holds would be barred, as it were? Furthermore, Maxwell B. XLIX, this is The Internet, and as such, all articles upon The Internet are, in fact, Serious Business and should clearly be treated as such. I eagerly await your rebuttal.

    Regally Yours,

    – Sir Peregrine Falcon, Thirty-Third Degree of Avian Royalty

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Is it really necessary, Maxwell B. XLIX, to use Robert Farago’s full name in each reference to him? Did you ever consider, Maxwell B. XLIX, that the purpose of a “roast” is specifically to mock a person for their own personal shortcomings, and that no holds would be barred, as it were? Furthermore, Maxwell B. XLIX, this is The Internet, and as such, all articles upon The Internet are, in fact, Serious Business and should clearly be treated as such. I eagerly await your rebuttal.

    It looks like I really hit a nerve with you! Your failure to answer any of the legitimate points I raised in my previous two postings shows that you are a man long on insecurity and short on answers.

    What is your point? That Robert Farago should be embarassed about his name? Or that Robert Farago should be embarassed about having his name referenced with respect to a plainly defamatory article written by him, Robert Farago? Or that someone actually called him out on a defamatory post in his tireless crusade against American industry and prosperity? Or that it’s okay for Robert Farago to make scum, low brow attacks on an American businessman’s health?

    Or does Robert Farago simply have to resort to posting under anonymous pseudonyms because he can dish it out, but he can’t take it?

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Sir Peregrine-Looks like someone doens’t know when they are being mocked. Chuckle.

    Max Bob may be the best GM has. Wow. Say it backwards…woW.

    Chapter 7 will come soon.

    I still think Prez Goodwrench has a shot at the “Lutzie”, it would look good next to his Nobel “PC” prize (as I have called it since Y. Arafat got one). BTW, I know it is not the Prez’ fault, the Nobel committee is just lame.

    Tootles,

    Bunter

  • avatar

    Maxb49

    I can assure you that I post under my own name. As for your previous points . . .

    1. Making fun of age-related maladies does not, of course, exempt me from them. What’s good for Lutz, in this case, is good for me: you gotta laff, mate! As for the wider point, all humor is offensive to someone.

    2. This post references the forthcoming Bob Lutz roast. He asked for it. Or at least encouraged it. Or maybe just allowed it. In any case, Lutz opened the door. I just breezed in.

    3. Re: my “tireless crusade against American industry and prosperity” is exactly the reverse of what you suggest. Strangely enough.

  • avatar
    Pete Butter

    I’m pretty sure the “Maximum” in Maximum Bob originated somewhere else. Sorry Farago, but I’ve heard that nickname for a while now.

    Nice try.

  • avatar

    Pete Butter:

    It’s the truth: “Maximum Bob” was my brainchild. The sobriquet, I mean. Obviously. I couldn’t make-up someone like Mr. Lutz or, more to the point, his career “success.”

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    First off – can everyone above and those that will post after go Google/Youtube the word “Roast”
    so that you fully understand the concept.

    when finished – go read Robert’s piece again.

    Good stuff RF!

  • avatar
    frank rizzo

    Yeah, Lutz “asked for it” by putting his dignity on the line for arthritis research. All class.

    Strangely enough, this article reminded me of Michigan commencement in 1999. Kofi Annan gave a brilliant speech during the normal commencement. Well prepared, reasonable in length, and with some new ideas. Not everybody agreed with it, but it was brilliant and respectful. Jacque Nasser spoke during the engineering commencement. It started out nice enough. Seemed like he had prepared well. However, things got very dry and random as the talk went on. He talked about this. And that. And this again. And that again. And even more. And then really useless shit. Only after a none-too-subtle groan from the crowd did Jacque decide to cut the rest of his speech and quit before the audience lost all interest, and respect.

    I hope that the groan from many in response to this column tells you something. While I almost uniformly hate what you stand for, or at least the way in which you stand for it, I’ll readily admit that you’re an excellent writer. Other than to increase my blood pressure as needed, that is why I read TTAC – to read an alternative viewpoint in a way that really pisses me off. There is no better way to challenge one’s personal views. You’re clearly passionate about many things, and it shows in your writing and your success in creating this website.

    So, I urge you not to soil your final days with low-rent nonsense like this. I hate Woody Hayes as much as the next Michigan grad, but the rivalry would be nothing without him. The end of his career was a shame. Don’t be Woody Hayes.

  • avatar
    dean

    Holy crap, does nobody know what a roast is?

  • avatar
    26theone

    RF classic… good job. MaxB49 spend some time reading the countless blogs posted here. NO ONE has more passion for the American Car Industry than RF. Accepting the status quo makes you part of the problem not the solution.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Oh, no! I’m 70 and have always been a slow pee-er. How the hell will I know when I have prostate trouble!!?

    Another thing I’ve noticed more and more is that when I get stuck behind someone who is driving like an old fart, it turns out to be someone younger than me. I think I’m going to have to work to change the idiom to “drives like maxb49″ or something.

    What would GM have been without Lutz? My guess would be: exactly the same but more boring.

    Give ‘em hell, RF!

  • avatar
    TZ

    dean :
    October 23rd, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Holy crap, does nobody know what a roast is?

    I think many people do. Obviously, not all.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    fincar1 +1

    Yup, with out Bobus Maximus they would be boring as well as painful to watch. But no different.

    Bunter

  • avatar

    I realize that the format of roasting people is to go over a boundary or two in terms of taste, but the prostate joke is pretty close to making fun of someone for their physical infirmities.

    BTW, there are lots of causes for a decreased flow when micturating. Scar tissue from gonorrhea used to be pretty common and falling toilet seats injure a lot of small boys.

    Farago, would you rather he turned to shake your hand while he was still busy?

  • avatar
    pete

    RF,

    Are you trying to “ice the kicker” before the Monticello event? :-)

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    Actually, a roast is where friends hurl insults while smiling. Were you smiling when you pressed the submit button, Robert?

  • avatar

    Though I have yet to meet Mr Lutz, I will say that when I do get that chance I hope he comes across as the kind of person who would see the humor in this post. Say what you want about his career (and it’s hard to deny that he’s a public figure out of choice) he seems like a guy who would rather laugh than, well, whine.

    We’ll see though. Unless my charitable contribution to the arthritis foundation is mysteriously turned down, it’s looking like I’ll have an opportunity to report back with greater authority on this point. Sadly, I fear that Fritz Henderson et al. won’t quite be able to match Robert’s achievement here.

  • avatar

    spyspeed:

    I frequently smile when I post. I occasionally cackle. I shall miss that.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I wonder if the people who get ‘roasted’ on the track by Mr. Lutz will be as gracious as he was after he was roasted on stage.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Judging from Mr. Lutz’s urinary problems, it looks like he could use a prescription of “FlowMAX”!!!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    IMHO Jim Press should get the Bob Lutz award for being out of touch with reality. After all, Press is the guy who begged dealers to stock up on new Chrysler inventory this spring, saying that it was necessary to save the company, when in reality, nothing short of a bottomless government pocketbook could “kind of” save Chrysler. All that really accomplished was put lots of dealers behind the financial 8 ball just before Chrysler lowered the boom on them in bankruptcy, leaving many of them with the inventory that Press begged them to take.

    Did Press come out of this smelling like roses? Hell,no. It wasn’t long before he was splattered all over the the Detroit papers for being millions of dollars in debt himself.

    If the Lutz award only goes to some one who is inept rather than insincere, maybe Press isn’t the choice, though I don’t think these two adjectives are mutually exclusive.

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Liked the RF article,liked the RF responses even better
    but..
    that global warming thing needs a thorough,unemotional,non UN agenda driven,rhetoric-free, science based, free flowing, hard evidence inclusive debate.
    gotta go with Bobbo L. on that one.

  • avatar

    Kofi Annan gave a brilliant speech during the normal commencement.

    -5 Cred

    Sad it started so well.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    There’s roasting — then there’s slicing, chopping, mincing, mixing with a nice peppered gravy and spreading it on toast.

    So he’s not a numbers guy, and I feel sorry for his PR handlers — but I find it difficult to dislike Lutz. He’s a car guy, and he loves his work. And he’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind. God forbid he wants to make interesting cars. Honestly, if GM is destined to go down the tubes, I’d rather have him at the helm than either Rick or Fritz.

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    ^^^^ From what we can see, he’s the only one in the company’s upper echelon who wouldn’t just as soon be at GE as GM. This leads me to believe there are more worthy targets for our collective scorn.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Hilarious, and most appropriate.

  • avatar
    Accords

    Mr Farago..

    Back when he was a big deal at Chrysler…

    He said his company THEN was making the best cars.
    Lutz is a mouth piece.. a BIG ass DAMN, slow peeing, blind ass mo fo.

    Who probably couldnt tell an Accord from a Malibu.
    Bad for the Accord

    Good for the Malibu

    I kid I kid!

    Id also like to know..
    Doesnt Wagoneer and Ghosn have the lacking personas?


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