Ask the Best and Brightest: "Maximum" Bob Lutz?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
ask the best and brightest maximum bob lutz

Commentator David Dennis asks…

I hope I’m not changing the subject too much, but there’s one thing that’s really bugged me about TTAC: your dislike of “Maximum Bob” Lutz. I may have read too many buff books, but I’ve always instinctively liked the guy.

I can’t help but notice that Chrysler had a pretty good car lineup when Bob jumped ship for GM. Once Bob was gone, their new car lineup disintegrated into the awfulness that has them in their current pathetic condition.

And likewise, once Bob started at GM, GM cars started getting a lot better, to the point where TTAC and other reviewers noticed.

Is Bob Lutz a great man or an out of touch domestic automaker drone? It seems to me that he’s pretty good at product development, or at least at convincing companies to approve better and more adventurous ideas already percolating.

I know he makes some outrageous comments but sometimes there’s a lot of truth to them, too.



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4 of 55 comments
  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on May 09, 2009
    and directing your marketing department to cover up the flameout of your last disaster (aka SSR) The SSR program may have made money even if it never met sales projections. The Lansing Craft Center could only make about 13,000 units a year, about 3 per Chevy dealer at the time the car was introduced. It was intended strictly as a halo vehicle, a showroom queen and a rendering of Chevy's upcoming styling language - which continues into the Malibu, Cruze and Volt. ASC, the SSR's main vendor, had market research that showed that the sport trucklet helped GM sell an additional 70,000 or so BOF trucks a year, so in that sense the SSR made GM a lot of money since BOF trucks were profitable. Of course, making and selling 24,000 SSRs in 3 years when capacity was almost twice that, and having almost a year's supply in the pipeline hardly makes the SSR look like a success.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on May 09, 2009

    One area where Lutz has had a positive impact has been in the increased attention to interior design and features. Look at the progression from the G6 to the Aura to the Malibu as well as the CTS, where they went back to hand stitching and fitting. Almost your entire experience as an owner and driver takes place behind the wheel, so interior design is one way an automaker can leapfrog the competition with thoughtful design and materials selection.

  • Harleyflhxi Harleyflhxi on May 10, 2009

    Of course Lutz is not without flaw, but the many ways Max Bob injected life into the moribund GM product line in such a short time is truly remarkable. I'm a fan. You're a good man, Bob!

  • Rix Rix on May 10, 2009

    In all of this, I have to ask: If not Lutz, then whom? Ron Zarella? Lutz did the best he could and the best that could be expected. Asking him to save the biggest auto company in the world from a subordinate position is asking too much. Particularly when at a reputational, brand, and cost disadvantage.