By on October 28, 2008

So now we know where the press scarfed all those Maximum Bob bites™: the text of GM Car Czar Bob Lutz’ address to a confabulation of spinmeisters. MB starts off on exactly the wrong foot: the perception gap. It gets worse from there, obviously. Bob reiterates his theme of late: design rules. Apparently, it’s “the last great differentiator in the automotive business. Everybody has great powertrains and adheres to the same basic fuel economy and safety standards. Everybody has good, flexible, low hour-per-vehicle manufacturing. Everybody has efficient purchasing and uses the same suppliers. Everybody has roughly similar reliability and quality ratings.” Hang on; does that include me? ‘Cause I don’t think Bob and I share suppliers, if you know what I mean. And then Bob says PR is a crock of shit. “I’ve been a lifelong critic of corporate communications that don’t communicate, or are too sanitized. All large corporations are good at it, and General Motors is certainly no exception. In this case, communications, instead of being a weapon for putting out the truth, becomes simple risk avoidance. It focuses on making sure that no one says the wrong thing. And often, by focusing on not saying the wrong thing, you’re essentially saying nothing.” Sorry. What were you saying?

So, Bob, what do you think about TTAC? “I think good, effective communications messaging is expressed skillfully, directly, accurately, precisely, and honestly. It seems odd to have to say ‘honestly’, doesn’t it? And yet I feel like it needs to be said. More often than not, a lack of honesty comes back to haunt you.” True dat. So, honestly, I reckon Bob Lutz is an oxymoron. “We have to keep ridiculous hyperbole and blatant self-praise out of our communications… I really do hate hyperbole — even when it’s accurate.”

Bob finishes with a throw-down to himself to talk to TTAC, or similar. “If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a true media hatchet job, take ‘em on! When a story appears with which you take righteous exception, don’t hesitate to dispute its content or conclusions publicly.” FYI: my email is [email protected]

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13 Comments on ““Making a Connection,” Remarks by General Motors’ Bob Lutz at PRSA 2008 International Conference...”


  • avatar

    If anyone’s waiting for Bob to acknowledge TTAC, I’d advise you not to hold your breath.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    First, just a quick spell check Robert. In the question “So, Bob, What do you tihnk about TTAC?”…

    If I were Bob, I’d have to say; “I think TTAC should invest in a spell checker”. :)

    Personally, I agree that “Design” is the great differentiator, all else being equal of course. Unfortunately, other than the ‘vette, the new “muscle” cars and a couple others, the rest of GM’s vehicles FAIL MISERABLY in the “design” department.

    If the (shrinking)2.8 would actually build vehicles with some true “style” rather than trying to outbland the Camry, they would not have been losing their market share nearly as fast as they have.

  • avatar

    Wolven:

    “But allow me to take a minute to get on my soapbox and say that the general state of writing in the professional world is deplorable. And email and text messages aren’t helping any.

    Nothing gets under my skin more than poor writing, spelling and grammar… more than seeing “sneak peek” spelled “p-e-A-k”… more than seeing “attain” used when it should be “OB-tain”… I could go on and on with examples but my speechwriter begged me to stop here.”

    Text amended.

    ferrarimanf355:

    If anyone’s waiting for Bob to acknowledge TTAC, I’d advise you not to hold your breath.

    So you’re saying he’s a hypocrite?

  • avatar
    ComfortablyNumb

    “So bad that a man went to his financial advisor, said he wanted to start up a small business and asked how he should go about it.
    “Simple,” said the advisor. “Buy a big one, and wait.”

    I bet the thousands of GM employees who have/will lose their jobs think that’s freakin’ hilarious, Bob.

    What a douche.

  • avatar

    So you’re saying he’s a hypocrite?

    I suppose you can say that. I mean, he never mentioned you by name, or the website you run by name, so why should he start now?

    I think Bob is a great guy to go out to the pub and slam a few Coors Lites (my beer of choice) with, but sometimes, I wonder if he has a few screws loose or something.

  • avatar
    luscious

    Of course he has a few nuts loose…

    …the tailpipe is a bit lower …and to the right.

    Pluease, Bob, …take a DEEP, LONG, DRAG…and HOLD IT IN!!!

    :)

  • avatar
    ComfortablyNumb

    Another gem:

    “How they must hate the pompous, self-congratulatory, big-shot stuffed shirts they so often have to interview, especially when all they get are tired tidbits of the company line doled out with a heaping helping of arrogance.”

    I can only assume he threw a “[cough]rickwagoner[cough]” in there.

  • avatar

    This confounds me. Reading the text, he’s dead nuts on. The icing on RF’s cake is he plays right into TTAC’s mission. He also acknowledges that design is king. All things he should be saying… and doing.

    However, the old phrase applies: “actions speak louder than words.”

    It does makes me wonder… maybe Maximum Bob is really our kindered spirit, bound and gagged by the corporate misfits that write his check – because they obviously don’t agree.

    But then again, maybe I’m taking hits from the same bong as Bob. He could be – like global warming – a crock of shit.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    “Design rules” is the kind of crock of shit that I would expect from a GM PR flack.

    Aveo vs. Fit – Not design

    Cobalt vs. Civic – Not design

  • avatar
    jkross22

    They are who we thought they were.

    Denny Green, meet your half brother, Bob Lutz.

  • avatar
    HarveyBirdman

    I can’t find the post, RF, but at a press gathering when you approached Bob to ask him a question, didn’t he turn to his handler first to ask him if TTAC was one of the “good guys?” If so, you must really love this speech. Vintage MB, and at a PRSA meeting, no less.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Slightly off topic (but not really), but in the year or so since Saturn introduced the Astra, a car that I love by the way, I have seen all of ONE 5-door model and ZERO 3-doors out in the world. I’ve actually seen more ’09 ZR1s (one, out in front of the Fox News building in Manhattan last Spring)out on the street than 3-door Astra.

    Good news for the General is that I see new Malibus all over the place. Can’t swing a dead Lumina without hitting one these days.

    I’m a lifelong GM guy, but I have to call them as I see them.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Time now for another episode of the Mr. Oblivious Show…….

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