Bailout Watch 338: GM Car Czar Stays In Lousy Hotels, Flies With the Rabble

bailout watch 338 gm car czar stays in lousy hotels flies with the rabble

“I’ve never quite been in this situation before of getting a massive pay cut, no bonus, no longer allowed to stay in decent hotels, no corporate airplane,” GM Car Czar Bob Lutz tells NPR radio. “I have to stand in line at the Northwest counter. I’ve never quite experienced this before. I’ll let you know a year from now what it’s like.” Hopefully not. Meanwhile and before that, Maximum Bob was busy comparing the Chevy Malibu to the VW Phaeton. On one level, I’m down with that. The VW Phaeton was a stunning car, in an absurdly misbranded, high-tech kinda way. I mean, we’re talking about a vehicle that automatically adjusts the angle of its sunroof at speed to protect occupants from sonic distress. But during his don’t call it The Detroit Auto Show interview, GM Car Czar Bob Lutz proudly reveals that the Chevy Malibu took its styling cues from the ill-fated Phaeton. What styling cues? Of course, there’s more Maximum Bobage to be savored here.

“Back 15 or 20 years ago, it was the people who really knew about cars and knew what they were doing who made those [American car dissing] statements,” Lutz tells the taxpayer-supported radio network. “And then it filters down to the less and less knowledgeable. And now the whole cycle is starting again at the top, where the knowledgeable people who truly understand the business now say the new range of General Motors cars are probably the best vehicles of their types in the world. And that’s going to trickle down — but it takes time.” Surprisingly (or not), Bob dismisses the possibility of advertising as the solution to Ye Olde (new?) Perception Gap…

“Frankly we don’t do enough [advertising],” Lutz insists. “We just can’t afford it right now. And there is not enough, not enough advertising dollars in the world to change the perception of people who are absolutely locked in and basically lock you out.”

But, apparently, the Malibu is “still gaining momentum.” “It is an extremely well-accepted car.” Not well accepted enough, Mr. Bond. And let’s see those hotel receipts, please.

[thanks to Pete Connor for the link]

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2 of 41 comments
  • Mikedt Mikedt on Jan 14, 2009

    Bottom line, Bob. If you want me to believe GM makes the best/most reliable cars, put your money where your mouth is and give me an extended warranty. After all, if you're telling me the truth it shouldn't cost you anything. Until then I have to go with my gut, conventional wisdom and anecdotal evidence.

  • 357Sig 357Sig on Jan 14, 2009

    GM must have a Phaeton in its design studio as inspiration. The Buick Lucerne also looks like a close cousin of the phaeton. In fact, everything rear of the front wheel on the Buick Lucerne is literally a tracing-paper copy of the Phaeton. The interior is also a clone, some parts more than others. If imitation is indeed flattery, VW's got to be blushing. Here's a comparison.... Need I say more. It's too bad that the americans are such brand snobs and that VW didn't dedicate the $$ necessary to properly advertise the Phaeton. Oh, yes and lets not forget that some of VW's dealers were a little uncomfortable selling a $100,000 car (in the case of the W12). The Phaeton is still selling quite well in the rest of the world, with a much larger selection of engines than were offered in the USA. The V10 Twin Turbo Diesel will move the car (which weighs in about the same as a Chevy Tahoe) almost as quicky as the the W12. For 2009, the Phaeton has had a few minor upgrades, but essentially remains unchanged from what was (unsuccessfully) sold here in the USA for the model years 2004, 2005 and 2006.

  • SnarkyRichard J have no desire to get an EV and will never get one . Just give me a manual transmission , a high redline , grippy 4 wheel disc brakes and a two lane highway to slice and dice my way through traffic . No smart phone connectivity needed , just a powerful stereo with 6x9 speakers in the rear to give the classic rock sound of American freedom on the open road . And that's all I have to say about that .
  • Gregtwelve While Sichuan managed to avoid the nationwide energy rationing witnessed in 2021, attributed to a lack of coalWe have plenty of coal. Let's sell them something for a change. And let us not forget that historically the Chinese hate the Japanese for what they did in WW2, so that might have something to do with it.
  • Jkross22 A toenail in every pot.
  • SCE to AUX If the plant had been powered by internal combustion, this wouldn't have happened. The entire plant is just a toy for the rich.
  • Jkross22 Gotta give the auto industry trollups some props - trying to guilt their johns into giving a bigger tip. Hilarious! Can't ever say Mary Barra doesn't have a helluva sense of humor.