First Annual Bob Lutz Award: It's Eponymous

first annual bob lutz award its eponymous

TTAC'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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2 of 28 comments
  • EBFlex "I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles"Assuming you went from 0 gallons to full (17.2), you have averaged almost 50MPG over those 2500 miles. 50 MPG in a Jeep Wrangler. To all of you EV nut jobs, tell me again how PHEVs are not the absolute best thing to happen to automobiles since the wheel. And tell me how they don't make EVs look like the awful play toys that they are.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The Buick 215/3.5-liter aluminum V8 was one of GMs great engines. Unfortunately GM being GM in one of their greatest mistakes was selling off the tooling to BL. If they kept it around and improved upon it it would have been a fine motor for their compacts and midsize models through the OPEC oil crisis.
  • Chris P Bacon Not sure why a '21 is getting reviewed, because there have been improvements to the 4xe. I've got a '22 4xe Sahara. May 2022 build in High-Velocity yellow with a soft top. As soon as it was announced I knew I wanted to try it, not for the fuel mileage, but for the technology. I don't have a Level 2 charger, it charges fully overnight on the included Level 1. I see an indicated range of 27 miles regularly. Today it indicated 29 when I unplugged. I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles, a full charge costs me about $3 based on my current electricity supplier. I don't experience the rough transitions between electric and gas, so maybe Jeep figured it out? It's stupid fast when using all the power off the line. So much so that it will break the rear wheels loose when you stomp on it. I agree that plugin hybrids are the future. I see no need for a pure electric. This is the way to go.
  • RHD The word B R O N C O written in contrasting paint on the dashboard is quite unnecessary. The passenger certainly knows what kind of vehicle he or she is in. That detail is a big fail. The red and white Bronco looks great, especially with tires that have honest-to-goodness sidewalls on them.
  • Luke42 Aren't those trim levels just different colors of paint?That's what they sound like, at least. 🤷‍♂️