By on April 23, 2011

An earlier report, stating that Bob Lutz would be returning to GM as a consultant was true… but so was the news that Treasury opposed GM’s plans to pay its longtime executive, who retired a little over a year ago. Speaking to the press at the New York Auto Show, Maximum Bob confirms that he is on the board of Lotus, and revealed that he is doing “pro-bono” work as a consultant for GM’s new product development boss, Mary Barra. According to Automotive News [sub], the prospect of Lutz returning as a GM consultant (ala Fritz Henderson) caused such a stir at Treasury, that he decided to work informally at GM, without pay. Given that Lutz’s heavily-hyped products have yet to return GM to steady retail market share growth, perhaps GM is finally paying him what he’s worth?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

34 Comments on “Everything Sells At The Right Price… Even Bob Lutz’s Advice!...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Wonder if anyone asked if they could just pay him in cigars?  He’d likely take a “cigar bundle of the month” as payment. 

    So he’s working for free, I wonder if GM will admit which products he advised on? 

    • 0 avatar

      his mission? to make GM viable…or is it viagrable? remember this is Bob we’re talking about.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Dan, I was going to make some stupid comment about the similarities between Messers Lutz and Nielsen, but seeing your avatar first, I started laughing and forgot what I was going to say! The irony is hilarious!

      I suppose having Mr. Lutz back will assure that my next Impala will at least have bright window reveal! Three tail lights would also be appreciated, as I stated on a different thread.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Lutz had a lot more misses than hits at GM. IMO his biggest problem was failing to recognize GM needs/needed high volume hits, not his niche market flops. I also think Lutz is out of tune with an ever evolving marketplace. His vision seems to be of the marketplace decades ago rather than today or the future. And before anyone mentions his being a Volt proponent stop and realize he had no choice and the Volt was well into its development cycle before Lutz started touting it.
     
    I for one am glad Lutz retired from GM. In an advisory position he can’t cause anywhere near as much damage. Lotus may just be a perfect place for him.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Lutz is advising in the development of future products.  Just because he isn’t getting paid cash money doesn’t mean he isn’t being reimbursed with lavish perks. I cannot grasp how GM is ever going to move forward if they continue to use the same people and the same ideas that caused it to ride into a long-overdue demise and subsequent nationalization.

      • 0 avatar
        mtymsi

        The difference as I see it is Lutz is no longer in a position to make decisions.
         
        Reminds me of the old expression “free advice just may be worth what it costs”.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mtymsi, while it is true that he is not in a position to make decisions, he has the ear and the attention of someone who is. Bad advice given and followed and then later implemented by a decision maker following his advice will result in the same problems that led GM to self-destruction with the help of the UAW.

        I also believe that GM is out of tune with what is wanted and needed in the US. But they are doing very well in China and I wish them continued success in the hopes that they will repay the money we, the people, gave them with the bail outs and nationalization. Even though I was a GM-owner in the past, I don’t see myself ever buying GM again, like many others who have expressed that same sentiment. There is just something repulsive about bailing out and nationalizing a failed company at public expense and then seeing them go full speed ahead with the same ideas and people that caused the catastrophe in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        Shipwright

        See Albert Einstein and his definition of insanity.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      You mean he didn’t know GM had to sell lot’s of cars?  The guy really is a bum.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Ed, thanks for a wonderful Easter story; Maximum Bob has a soft spot in his heart for charities! Who knew?

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Case-in-point:
     
    Chevrolet SSR.
     
    Ugly, pointless, and an answer to a question nobody asked. Lutz is overrated IMHO.

    • 0 avatar

      I was just about to say that. He IS overrated. His worldliness is romanticized

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Chevrolet SSR? I wish I could afford one. My neighbor has one he usually keeps in storage, but when he brings it to his house, I drool over it! I’m sure these will be worth a small fortune one day.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The SSR is the cruelest car GM ever created.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I liked it because it was such an oddball. Kinda matches my personality. Would I actually own one? Probably not – a Corvette is more practical. I would own one of those!

    • 0 avatar

      Chevy made money on the SSR simply from the Silverados that they sold to people coming to the dealer to see the SSR. Original plans were to make about 13,000 SSRs a year, barely enough to give every Chevy dealer at the time about 3 SSRs a year. In other words, this was a straight halo car. ASC, who did much of the work on the SSR, claimed that GM sold about 70,000 full size pickups and SUVs to people who went to look at the SSR on the showroom floor. That’s a lot of very profitable sales.

      • 0 avatar

        sorry Ronnie but that is a ridiculous claim. the SSR was a disaster. announced and shown years before available, it went for thousands over sticker for a month or two, then dropped faster than anything I’ve ever seen, many dealers said they would rather have AIDS than an SSR in stock. I seriously doubt even 100 Silverados were sold as a result.

      • 0 avatar

        I also doubt many Silverados were sold as a result. Halos have had little or no value in recent years. They only work if people’s choices are limited to a small number of similar products, none of which clearly meets their needs (e,g. the 1950s and 1960s). As soon as a product is available that more closely meets their needs, that’s the one they buy, even without a halo in the showroom.

        ASC’s estimate was fully self-serving. If true, Silverado sales would have fallen by tens of thousands as soon as the buzz around the SSR died off.

  • avatar
    mike978

    The G8, CTS, Malibu were all good cars and due to him.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Sorry but I’m a Maximum Bob defender…
    If you point at everything great at GM, it has Bob’s fingerprints on it. 

    He turned around two complete car divisions (Buick & Cadillac) with new product and gave them a new direction.    Chevrolet is seeing the best products ever with the Malibu, Cruze, Corvette, & Camaro.   
    He boldly pushes through the Volt.    He pushed through low volume manufacturing methods for speciality products.    We seen this in the Sky/Soltice.      He also created the Halo products that kept interest alive.
      
    GM was a super tanker going the wrong direction and it takes time to turn it around.
    Product development cycles are long.   Mr Lutz was not at GM for a long time if you think in terms of the number of automotive development cycles that he orchestrated.
    At the same time GM was faced with declining market share, lower volumes, and high legacy costs due to it’s older product mix and older management decisions.

    So car guy Mr. Bob Lutz, job well done and keep the pedal to the metal.      

      

    • 0 avatar
      CamaroKid

      Turn around at Cadillac?  Ya the Lutz “fixed” STS was a great car… so great that it has permanently killed the STS name and brand….. WTF… The pending FWD V6 Epsilon based XTS is a turnaround???… More of the same if you ask me… and car sales are near all time lows and bound to go even lower.   Cadillac is still in a world of hurt.   Cadillac is in a race to take over Buick’s space and Buick is in a race to take over Chevy’s spot.   The product overlap at GM is just as messed up now as it was 10 years ago.
      Lutz was not at GM a long time WTF… Revisionist history there.. He stared work at GM in 2001.  In the car industry 8 years is a VERY long time…  Mulally managed to right Ford in little more than three years… Lutz was still mucking about with mistakes like the G5 at the end.
      The Volt is a bright light, that is until you try to buy one.  The car that is supposed to save GM and transform an industry and the best they can do is build 10,000 units a year… and sell it only in 5 or 6 “test” markets…
      If this is success I would hate to see what things would be like if he had sucked.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Trend-Shifter,

      Greatness, yes but isn’t it in all the wrong places?

      The Volt, Corvette and other specialty cars are shining examples of that greatness GM is capable of but do they necessarily translate into extra sales of GM’s bread & butter cars? If GM didn’t waste presious resourses to perfect its low volume loss-leaders, they could focus on the GM cars currently dominating Consumer Reports “Worst Cars On The Road” study. Those halo cars may lure consumers to the showroom with greatness but if there’s nothing on the regular lot that impresses, it’s all for not.

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      “He turned around two complete car divisions (Buick & Cadillac)…” 

      I think, Cadillac is still pretty much a work in progress. CTS is great but GM/Cadillac is still dumping it to the fleet market. The STS/DTS is dead. SRX is a rebadged Chevy. What exactly the new Cadillac bring to the table?

      AFAIK, Buick is saved thanks for the shut down of Saturn, insisted by the Fed’s Auto Task force (not an original idea from Detroit), and thereby inherits what are planned for Saturn.

    • 0 avatar

      The Solstice experiment in low volume manufacturing was such a success that, according to one estimate, they were losing $10k per car near the end and they sold the plant to Fisker. 

      Most of the money poured into Cadillac was lost. The SRX and STS both flopped. Only the CTS was a success, and the first-generation car was nearly complete when Lutz arrived.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    I may be back at GM soon too, as a contractor again.  Seriously, someone please get me the hell out of Detroit.

  • avatar
    Corky Boyd

    Say what you want about Lutz, he is one of the few people at GM who has the innate ability to look at a car and see whether it will connect with the public of not.  Has he made mistakes? Sure.  The Prowler at Chrysler was a bomb.  But the Viper sure wasn’t.  Nor was the Grand Cherokee.

    GM needs Bob Lutz more than Lutz needs GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Lemming

      The Viper wasn’t a bomb?  I question whether it ever made Chrysler a dime.  More importantly, the Viper was a waste of money even as a halo car.  It’s styling was something that only a 12 year old could love.  It’s engineering was downright neanderthal compared to its competition.  The Viper did nothing to burnish Chrysler’s reputation . . . except to suggest that it’s executives had decidedly crass taste in sports cars and a weak reality baseline as to where the market was going.

      You might also add to the list of Lutz mistakes the utterly futile attempt to launch the Eagle brand.  When Chrysler bought AMC its dealer network should have been quickly folded into Chrysler’s, but Lutz wanted to pair Jeep with an upscale brand that competed against the imports.  That was an epic fail.

      Lutz never made it to the top at Chrysler because he displayed shaky judgment.  If GM needs that then they must have a remarkably deep and pervasive talent drain.  Perhaps they can borrow a few executives from Kia.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Seems as though many of us agree that Lutz is good at creating niche products that build image. But what GM currently needs is more volume products that build profits.

  • avatar
    MikeAR

    Lutz is a very talented person, he has an almost unmatched talent for self-promotion. He was a matchless car journalist-ass kisser. He had the talent to get in front of a good idea and pretend that it was his own and he could dance away from blame for a failed program like no one else.

    His niche products were for the most part press darlings but money losers in sales. It is truly amazing to look at his career and how he has managed to skate from one failure to another without ever being held accountable. Judge him by the results, what he left behind and he is one of the worst car executives ever.

    • 0 avatar
      CamaroKid

      Wow Mike, don’t hold back there… tell us how you really feel!

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      His niche products were for the most part press darlings but money losers in sales.
       
      I agree, and I’ll add that they were usually half-baked. The Solstice (and the Sky, of course) were nice-looking, and priced well. But 26 years after Mazda produced its first Miata, the Solstice came to market with a Rube Goldberg-inspired convertible top, and an unusable trunk.
       
      Fanboys (and girls) claimed, “But it’s not a primary vehicle!” True, but what’s the point of a roadster that can’t accommodate the two occupants’ small overnight bags for a weekend trip?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India