By on March 3, 2008

gm-boblutz.jpgTTAC's first annual Bob Lutz Award is given to the automotive executive who's made the most outrageous, politically incorrect or just plain dumb public pronouncements. When it comes to providing us with that special blend of hubris, tunnel vision and cognitive dissonance, nobody does it better than Robert A. "Bob" Lutz. And so, Maximum Bob gets the nod. Yes, there were other suits who made Lutz-worthy statements. But Maximum Bob scored extra points for volume and consistency. Hardly a day goes by that MB doesn't utter some bon mots that leave us shaking our heads. We proudly present a representative sample…

Bob Lutz on the Environment

"Global warming is a total crock of shit."

"General Motors is dedicated to the removal of cars and trucks from the environmental equation, period. And, believe it or don't: So am I! It's the right thing to do, for us, for you and, yes, for the planet. My goal is to take the automotive industry out of the debate entirely."

Bob Lutz on Fuel Economy

"Everybody thinks high gas prices hurt sport utility sales. In fact they don't. Rich people don't care."

"What obviously surprised us is gasoline rising from $1.50 to $3 a gallon."

"You can say in the future we downsize, and the Chevy HHR becomes the new Suburban. Now, what do you do when you want to tow a horse trailer? Work with miniature horses?"

Bob Lutz on Branding

"Buick and Pontiac are both damaged brands that have suffered from years of harvesting with very little reinvestment."

"…then we would have to take a look at a phase-out. I hope we wouldn't have to do that."

"Everyone always says that I was sort of implying we were going to cut Buick and Pontiac. I never said 'irrevocably damaged' or 'irreparably damaged" or 'terminally damaged.'"

Bob Lutz on Alternative Technologies.

"[Hybrid cars] make no economic sense."

"For us to go out with a half-baked system just to get a few months out, I don't think would be prudent."

Sitting next to massive V-16 engine on display in his office:  "I believe strongly that this country has to get off oil. The electrification of the automobile is inevitable."

"This is like JFK's call for the moon shot. I want to stick around to see the Volt come to market. Then I'll pack it in around 80."

Talking about when they'll have the first Volt prototype on the road: "Let's wait for the Easter Bunny. Somebody's going to have egg on their face. And I don't like having egg on my face."

"[The Volt's price] might get there on the second generation, and they say if they had a lot more time they might be able to cost-optimize it [but] I don't want to wait for cost optimization. I'd rather come out in 2010, and if it costs closer to 40 than 30, well, that's too bad."

"They put a bunch of bacteria in there that basically just eat and poop, eat and poop [ethanol]."

"Instead of just copying that same stupid message [about GM killing the electric car] that I have received at least one thousand times in identical form (don't you folks have any creative drive?), why didn't you use your energy to research GM's announced major effort on the range-extended Chevrolet 'Volt' EV, as well as our announcement of a plug-in hybrid version of the upcoming Saturn 'Vue?' Some recognition of how much and how fast we are moving in these areas would be a lot more motivating than bombarding us with that hopelessly-outdated standard letter."

Bob Lutz on The Industry/GM

"Being able to 'think outside the box' presupposes you were able to think in it."

"The choice is no longer between keeping the same job or keeping the same job at a lower wage. The choice is now keeping the same job at less compensation or having no jobs at all in this country."

"This business is finally all about making money. And buying market share with incentives to get an unsustainable share is just not a good strategy."

"I don't think about [global leadership]. And the answer would be the same whether today's numbers said General Motors is Number One, or Number Two…or tied!"

"The threat of [GM's] bankruptcy is absolutely out of the question."

"I'd say we're at the end of the beginning."

Bob Lutz on Bob Lutz

When asked to rate his performance though GM's market share slide and billions of losses: "I would give myself a B+ or an A-. I feel good about that because it means at some point I can pack it in and as long as Rick's around, nothing will change."

Amen to that! And congratulations to Bob Lutz for winning The Truth About Cars' First Annual Bob Lutz Award. We look forward to chronicling Maximum Bob's wit and wisdom through '08. We're also keeping our editorial radar on a wide sweep, so don't get to thinking next year's award is a foregone conclusion. Not in this industry it ain't.

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28 Comments on “First Annual Bob Lutz Award: It’s Eponymous...”

  • avatar

    If you're wondering where the person you voted for ended up, here are the finalists and what percent of the votes they got. Bob Lutz – 30% Jack Smith – 18% Chris Bangle – 12% Rick Wagoner – 10% Stefan Jacoby – 5% Robert Lund – 5% Martin Eberhard – 4% Nameless Auto Show Girl – 3% Malcolm Bricklin – 3% Derrick Kuzak – 2% Carlos Ghosn – 1% James Selwa – 0

  • avatar

    30% is hardly a mandate …

  • avatar

    Not many votes – perhaps people thought Lutz had a lock on his award. Perhaps we need to disqualify him from future years?

  • avatar

    Well, one could always be mean and add up the percentages scored by Lutz, Smith and Wagoner. That way GM management scores a slam dunk.

  • avatar

    Yes, surprisingly few votes. Oh well, I cast mine :-)

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    I’m delighted with the second place finish by Jack Smith. A true visionary.

  • avatar

    Nice to see GM is still number one in a particular field!

    I can’t believe Carlos Ghosn only got 1%! I voted for this nimrod! His stance on hybrids, moving to Memphis and Nissan’s drop from Japan’s number 2 to Number 3. And still, this guy only gets 1%?!

  • avatar

    Yes, surprisingly few votes.

    I didn’t see the number of votes; they first comment listed percentages. How many votes were cast?

    Incidentally, I still agree with Bob on the “Global Warming is a Crock of Shit” line (at least, man-made global warming).

  • avatar

    the funny thing is Lutz shoots from the hip and is not entirely wrong when he says these things, but coming from an executive of GM it’s a no-no

  • avatar

    Percentages people, percentages!

    the funny thing is Lutz shoots from the hip and is not entirely wrong when he says these things

    Well, like they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  • avatar

    The numbers are not how many votes each got, it's their percentage of the total vote.

  • avatar

    “Being able to ‘think outside the box’ presupposes you were able to think in it.”

    A true gem in a sea of shit. This actually is somewhat thoughtful. The rest, well, he seems to be high most of the time.

  • avatar

    30% is a pretty high percentage of votes.

  • avatar

    Lutz is the only one left of the old stock that will still voice his opinion despite the knowledge that he will be pilloried by the GW watermelons and the rest of the we know how to spend your money better than you crowd.

    I think most of us laugh affectionately.
    Like the Huge V8’s he favors, MaxBob is a relic of a bygone era.

  • avatar

    Percentages people, percentages!

    My bad.

    Just saw in Automotive News that they have their own Bob Lutz chronicle, basically saying that the guy is doing a good job but should just shut his big trap!

  • avatar

    well done! just to be contrary, i didn’t vote for bob but still recognized his pure genius.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Bangle was robbed.

  • avatar

    Samir Syed: You can take my word for it Samir, you just blink one time and you too will be a “relic of a bygone era”

    C’mon everybody, GM is not Lutz’s company to screw up . He is just a small link in a old rusty chain.

  • avatar

    Classic picture…. kind of looks like Leslie Nielsen. Where’s OJ??

  • avatar


    Will you be accepting the Lutzie for Maximum Bob? I demand a speech.

  • avatar

    Hey hey! Ma man (and nomination) Jack Smith scores a solid second. Way to go Mr. Haughty!

    … now maybe GM can get back to making cars.

  • avatar
    prince valiant

    Back in the late 1990’s when Nissan was losing money and looking for a partner, Bob made the analogy that spending money on Nissan was similar to placing several billion dollars on a ship and sinking it in the middle of the ocean. Too bad that I can’t find the exact quote.

  • avatar

    I swear this: Reading those almost made my head explode!

    The fact that he hasn’t been asked for his resignation by now is very worrying, but not surprising. More incompetence and mismanagment from The General’s hierarchy and Board of Bystanders.

    And that’s just one reason (among many) that I think I’m 100% correct in having sworn off General Motors vehicles for life. For the same reason, it’s also why the GM Death Watch series must continue.

    EDIT: I wanted to laugh at MB’s stupid comments, but I find myself very deeply saddened by this, so those of you so inclined to bite back at me…well, please withold your accusations of anti-Americanism or domestic bias. It’ll fall on deaf ears.

  • avatar

    I have to agree with Bob Lutz on one thing – global warming is a crock of manure. 

  • avatar

    Hey prince valiant- Great memory. At that time Nissan’s styling was very weak but they did have the most efficient auto plant in the world that they had just constructed in Tennesee. Let us not forget that they were the second largest Japanese auto co. in the world. Lutz dropped the ball on that one . That was a good time to buy stock in them.

  • avatar

    You can’t give the Bob Lutz award to Bob Lutz! This contest is rigged!

  • avatar

    What did nameless autoshow girl say that was voteworthy?

  • avatar
    Chris Inns

    Feel the lulz!

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