"Making a Connection," Remarks by General Motors' Bob Lutz at PRSA 2008 International Conference

making a connection remarks by general motors bob lutz at prsa 2008 international

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 robert.farago@thetruthaboutcars.com.

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  • on Oct 29, 2008

    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.

  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Oct 29, 2008

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

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