Bob Lutz has worked as an executive for General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and BMW at various points in his storied life. Saying he’s a man who is well-versed in the automotive industry would be a colossal understatement. And that expertise has led him to the assertion that a certain manufacturer is a cult led by a false god.
That, Audi has abandoned its wildly successful career in endurance racing for something far less popular, Ford takes a financial body blow, and Volkswagen Group continues to suffer with Porsche as its sugar daddy… after the break!
Short answer: it’s anyone’s guess.
Michigan-based specialty car company VLF Automotive, maker of heavily modified versions of (mostly) existing vehicles, plans to slap a unique bodystyle on a well-known mass-produced model, The Detroit Bureau reports.
The news comes as VLF readies a Corvette-powered, restyled Fisker Karma for sale, alongside a 700-horsepower Mustang and rebodied Dodge Viper. (Read More…)
General Motors quietly redirected its Fastlane Blog back to the mothership in December, signaling an end to the direct-to-C-suite “conversations” you could have with automotive executives.
The blog, which once hosted Maximum Bob’s musings on life, design and resign, was held up as a paragon for corporate communication in its day (it won a Webby) and provided fodder for this site.
Ferdinand Piëch, the man who ruled Volkswagen like the king of a Teutonic fiefdom, was likely the cause of the diesel scandal that’s erased billions of dollars of value from Volkswagen as it looks down the barrel of a gun loaded with further billions of dollars worth of recall work, fines and law suits.
Or, at least, that’s the claim made by Bob Lutz.
Former auto industry executive Lutz called Piëch’s leadership style “a reign of terror” before saying “The guy was absolutely brutal,” in his latest piece for Road & Track.
Tell us what you really think, Bob.
In wonderful Bob Lutz fashion, the former General Motors head told entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley that making cars is hard.
“I think, like so many Silicon Valley techies, that they believe they are smarter than the world’s automobile business, and that they will do it better,” Lutz told The Associated Press. “No way.”
His argument, in a Readers Digest version: Cars are more dangerous than Walkmen and when you make things that can explode it costs money so beat it, nerds.
My goodness, when isn’t former General Motors exec Bob Lutz just the best? The former GM chief recently appeared on an Automotive News panel and boy that guy has vision and the rest of us have bifocals.
Car and Driver correctly points out that Lutz makes good points regarding a merger between GM and Chrysler, but the sage’s wisdom doesn’t stop at the following quote:
“The knowledge that one is to be hanged in the morning focuses the mind wonderfully.”
Reuters reports that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross ruled that an auction for the assets of defunct hybrid sports car maker Fisker Automotive will be held on February 12. The auction will be held in the New York offices of the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis and attendance will be limited to representatives of Fisker, the unsecured creditors’ committee, and the two bidders, the American unit of China’s Wanxiang Group, an automotive supplier, and Hybrid Tech Holdings, which is affiliated with Hong Kong investor Richard Li. Other potential bidders have until February 7th to tender offers. (Read More…)
Photo courtesy of GMauthority.com
So I read earlier this week that Bob Lutz is saying that the US Government killed Pontiac. He says that GM had big plans to rescue the struggling brand with innovative, rear-wheel designs that included small performance cars that would have set the Germans back on their heels. Had these plans come to fruition, he hints, enthusiasts would have been busting down the doors and the brand would have quickly returned to good health. Sounds like new golden age for Pontiac was just around the corner. And it would have worked too, if it weren’t for those meddling Feds. That’s what Bob says anyhow, but I’m not so sure. The way I remember it, I had a hand in killing Pontiac, too. (Read More…)
Ladies and gents, we have a winner for our giveaway of “Icons and Idiots” by Bob Lutz.
Now that I’m done reviewing Bob Lutz’s new book, I’m going to give a copy away, just like we do with all the accumulated swag over at TTAC Towers. There may or may not be some greasy fingerprints sustained during an attempt to read this book while eating a grilled cheese sandwich. But the price is right. If you want it, all you have to do is give me the most compelling reason why you deserve it. Email your answers to editors at ttac dot com. Contest closes one week from today.
Bob Lutz’s latest tome isn’t so much about cars as it is a business book on leadership that happens to be about cars. Through 11 vignettes, Lutz talks about the leadership figures in his life, their triumphs and foibles and how they impacted his personal and professional development.
The longer I do this, the more I realize that it’s about people, not machines. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that cars are way cool, something only human beings could create, but it’s those human beings involved in that creation that make stories worth telling and hearing. When my son, my only son, Moshe, whom I love, was a boy we put model cars together. It was a father-son thing but I also wanted him to learn a little patience. We took care putting them together, but we rarely painted them. That too took much patience. Sometime when he was in fifth grade, so this would have been 1994 or 1995 when Mo was ten years old, we were building a model of a Dodge Viper. It was an AMT/Ertl kit, in 1:25 scale. (Read More…)
Henrik Fisker paired up with Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li to get his company back. Fisker is a co-founder of severely troubled Fisker Automotive. Li and Fisker are trying to buy the U.S. government loan to Fisker at a big discount. Henrik Fisker was ousted in March. (Read More…)
Fisker is worth around 200 Karmas at retail. “A team including former General Motors Co executive Bob Lutz and China’s largest parts maker is looking to buy Fisker Automotive for $20 million, a fraction of the “green” car company’s estimated worth almost a year and a half ago,” Reuters says. (Read More…)
When former TTAC Editor-in-Chief and now Editor emeritus Edward “Op-Ed” Niedermeyer wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and warned that GM’s center of gravity shifts more and more to China, GM’s retired multi-role fighter Bob Lutz reamed Ed via Fortune. Now, Bob Lutz himself appears to be an accessory in a deal that transfers U.S. government-financed technology to China for pennies on the dollar. Says Deepa Seetharaman, in-house alternative drivetrain expert at the Reuters Detroit office, in her in-depth article: (Read More…)