By on December 17, 2009

Turn on tune up and drop out

Having wandered with GM through the deserts of poor perceived quality, Bob “The Lizard King” Lutz has broken on through to the other side… of the perception gap. No longer will GM be accused of skimping on quality. No longer will GM struggle to realize its upmarket ambitions. Whence this mystical power? Lutz shares the keys to the the doors of perception with Automotive News [sub]:

Nothing adds perceived value to a car faster than that chrome surround around the side glass because it is a hallmark of German and Japanese luxury products. If you skimp on $50 of chrome, you are reducing the customer’s perceived value of the car by $500 of $600.

Like, wow. Where do these ideas come from?

Though Lutz was talking specifically about the next-generation Malibu, the brilliance of chrome window surrounds is that they can make every GM product upscale!

Lutz said all of GM’s future cars will have a chrome strip surrounding the side window glass. The lone exception is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. It was too late in the product plan to make the change.

Fantastic. More chrome makes everything look upscale, so why not put it on everything? Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Oh wait, Lincoln and Mercury are on the phone and they want their shallow, transparent ploy back.

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88 Comments on “Bob Lutz Discovers Tasteful Chrome Surrounds On The Doors Of Perception...”

  • avatar

    He may be onto something. The 328i has black around the windows and the 335i has chrome. Is the turbo motor really worth the extra $6000??? Heck no, but BMW fools the consumer by adding on little touches that further differentiate the models but cost virtually nothing, like the chrome window surrounds, the twin exhausts, a different front lower bumper, etc. In a large enough sample, yes, there will be enough people on the fence who end up springing for the 335i because they just gotta have that chrome or those tailpipes.

  • avatar

    W. Edwards Deming called this “Management by Chrome Applique”, though it’s better known by the Japanese word kanji.

  • avatar

    I hope he’s not talking about chrome on the B-pillars.  Not only does it (compared to the standard black trim) visually slow the lines of a car by accentuating a static design feature, almost nobody does it from the factory.  Including Lexus.  For a good reason.

  • avatar

    Wow…see, I put a premium on cars that don’t jump on the chrome bandwagon. From all my time with online forums, there are probably 10 people blacking out their chrome for every one person trying to add it. And if you look into the realm of hi-po versions of premium cars, one of the common things is de-chroming.

    I’m not a Raccoon, Lutz! Your shiny objects do not entice me.

    • 0 avatar

      I completely agree! Blacked out is the way to go, chrome is seen as old school and cheap in the aftermarket compared to billet aluminum, anodized, powdercoated or simply painted to match. It simply looks cleaner and gives the major components higher visual priority as they should already have. A chrome trim piece is simply drawing attention to the wrong areas of the car.

    • 0 avatar

      After market is there to provide what is different from the manufactures provide.  Right now, most of them provide chrome pieces and no one provides blacked out from the factory.  Kind of makes sense.
      Either way, there is quicker way to devalue your car than to add lots of after market items.

  • avatar

    I remember Rover had the old trick of putting a bit of bumpy rubber in the shelf in front of the passenger seat add a few slices of “wood” or “carbon fibre” o the MG version and the entire company was kept in business for about 10 years longer than it would have otherwise.
    Glad to see GM keeping up another fine old tradition.

  • avatar

    I remember my mom’s brand new, fully loaded, 91′ park avenue, who’s chrome on the side windows was actually chrome stickers which began to bubble with/in weeks of coming home and no matter how many times the dealer removed and reapplied (always shaking his head in disgust, once muttering “I thought they had learned”) it happened again (finally stopped imagine involved epoxy or something similar).  Hopefully this isn’t the chrome he is referring to.

    But yes it is a nice touch and add’s perceived value.

  • avatar

    Um, we’ve been seeing the Cruze concept for like, what, 12 years now and “it was too late in the product plan” to add a strip of chrome around the windows? The lumbering giant lives!

  • avatar

    Not just chrome. There are a lot of small details that can make a difference in terms of quality perception. Of course, those are exactly the things the bean-counters would reject. Get rid of cost driven styling and we’ll see much better looking cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I think it’s the opposite–get rid of pushing style above all else and start putting more money into componentry that actually lasts.

      Sadly, that only sells cars to a tiny fraction of the market.

  • avatar

    This is the brilliance behind the Saab 9-5 facelift a few years back that made it look like an old whore

  • avatar

    Chrome window surrounds are purely aesthetic, but when I think of small touches that raise the quality of the car, I think about things like rubber lining in the coin box/map pockets/door pockets/etc. Any place inside the car where coins, CD cases, pens, cell phones, or any other small items might be sliding around should have rubber lining. You don’t think it is a big deal when you buy a car, but it is incredibly annoying to hear things rattling around every time you turn the car. I’ve been surprised how certain manufacturers include this lining in their cars, but others haven’t. I can’t imagine it costs more than a couple dollars to include this minor feature, which provides such a high return in perceived value. Or maybe it’s just me.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    It’s extremely easy to say “yes, we’ll add this and decrease our perception gap” when the people funding and looking after you are governments. When you manage to do this as a private enterprise, like Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Volkswagen, etc, where you have see what you can trade off to make the best car you can while staying within budget, then, that’ll show whether GM “get it” or not. Until then, sod off, Lutz.

  • avatar

    1 step forward, 2 steps back.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Uhhmn,, note to Lutz, wabbout  spending 50 cents more on  intake manifold gaskets? Mebbe  if you  had  GM’s mkt share wouldn’t be  declining

  • avatar

    Half way through this post I ran out to the garage to look at my 2008 Prius. Totally black surrounds around the windows! The only chrome it has is a tiny plastic grill bar with a chrome finish. My perceived value is crushed.

    I will immediately  trade in my Prius for a Wurlitzer (sorry) Escalade. To hell with 50 mpg I need bling!

    • 0 avatar

      The Prius is not a luxury car.  The Lexus HS250h (luxury hybrid sedan somewhat based on the Prius’ platform) has chrome around the side windows, a chrome strip along the bottom of the side of the car, chrome door handles, etc.  If done correctly, bits of chrome can make a product look more expensive/luxurious.  If overdone or done with cheap fitting pieces, you get a Yugo Deluxe.

  • avatar

    Lutz’s next post: “Why the 1958 Buicks were the height of taste.”

  • avatar

    Starting in 1973 and going at least through 1977, GM’s mid-sized coupes all sported chrome surrounds for the windows.  Only it wasn’t chrome, it was cheap plastic that turned a grayish-clear when it was about 4 years old.  More recently, GM did chrome on the wheel covers of certain Buicks, which turned to yellowish-white plastic after a few years of car washes and other normal use (and these were BUICKS, ferkryinoutloud, which spend most of their lives in garages).
    Botch jobs like these do not add to perceived value, but add to the perception that we all actually have of GM’s recent offerings.  If they do it properly with quality materials, I agree with Lutz.  I hope they do.

  • avatar

    He is telling the truth.
    Can’t get on him about that.

    BUT if he thinks that that’s all you need to do, then nuts to him.

    But what’s with the hit on Lincoln yet again?
    Every time you do this, I think I must be living up to my screen name.
    I LIKE my MKS.
    I look forward to every single drive in it.
    That powerful ecoboost makes me feel like I have a hidden rocket and the luxurious interior makes my hillbilly inner feel pampered each and every drive.
    And bash it all you people want…there is not another car that gives me what this car did for that price.

    I know, I know, the M and others SAY they are in the 45 to 55K  range, but then you gotta add all the options and ZAP!, 60 Grand.
    You HAVE to use premium.
    Etc, etc.

    This white trash likes his MKS.

  • avatar

    @ educatordan

    LOL, you beat me to it.  Yeah, the ’58 Buick epitomizes the overuse of chrome, especially on the Limited edition.  It was Harley Earl’s last hurrah.

    I’m looking at my ’98 Nissan Frontier out my office window — just black rubber around the side and rear glass, and black plastic around the windshield.  But it does have real chrome bumpers!  Surprisingly enough, the plastichrome grille has held up well over the last 11 years.

  • avatar

    I’m glad Maximum Bob isn’t a surgeon, he’d be handing out cortisone shots and then billing the patient for joint replacement. 

    The only thing more lame than tacking on cheap shiny bits to add ‘percieved value’ is trying to make this sound like its some sort of profound insight into marketing.

  • avatar

    To me it’s all about he small details. the lined map pockets, the finished edge at the bottom of the seat, and for some reason most importantly, that the headliner is tucked in and finished where it meets the front windshield, not just cut with an exacto blade!
    I want an interior that doesn’t just look good in pictures. When I get in a GM car I feel like a kid who accidentally took an elevator at Disney’s MagicKingdom to the tunnels of the park. It’s magical on the surface but see it from behind and it’s not quite as magical.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    It’s worse than you think… some cars don’t even have window surrounds.  How will Subaru compete?

    • 0 avatar

      My 1993 Impreza, w/ frameless windows, had a chrome strip around the windows.  My 2001 Impreza (same basic chassis and body) did not have the chrome strip.  The blacked out surround looked significantly better.

      I personally think that all the chrome GM is throwing at their cars looks incredibly tacky… especially all the CUVs/SUVs that are getting the chrome treatment.  A tiny touch of chrome looks alright on a luxury vehicle, but it looks tacky on anything w/ 16″ hubcaps and significant gap between the tire and fenders.  Lexus GS350 = ok w/ a little chrome.  2008 Buick Lacrosse w/ chrome window surround, chrome wheels, and chrome “speed holes” = no good.

  • avatar

    This is new? What a crock of $hit! In the ’60’s you could tell an Impala from a Belair or Biscayne because of the stainless steel on the door frame surrounding the window. It’s an appearance gimmick strictly, justifies, I guess, charging more for the Impala. This revelation is beyond belief!

  • avatar

    Like, wow. Where do these ideas come from?

    This is what ahppens when the mandatory retirement at 70 years or IQ points (whichever comes first) is not firmly enforced. 
    Next thing you know, we may get a whole new round of Harley Earl ads. “Hi, I’m the electronic ghost of the guy responsible for GM’s visual vomit of the 50s and 60s. My buddy Bob has brought me back yet again, because as a Geritol achiever, he sees the value in tasteless styling with lotsa chrome. Enjoy the next sales slump!”  

    • 0 avatar

      I remember the Harley Earl ads.  I actually like Harley’s designs.  But I had to explain to my then wife who heck Harley Earl was.  After that the commercials just creeped her out.

  • avatar

    Try making Malibus that don’t have bad struts at 30,000 miles (pretty much all of them). Try making 6-speed transmissions that aren’t in 6th gear at 23 mph, absurdly handicapping the already comical Ecotec four-cylinder (the V6 throws enough power on the problem to mask it). Try making Malibus that have center stack storage area spring-loaded lids that don’t break or implode when you push them closed (has happened multiple times to me). Try making Malibus that have actual tactile quality in the operation of the interior controls (is anyone going to argue that the light and wiper stalks are the equal of anyone other than Chrysler? What of the grinding climate controls on every single one? What of the climate buttons, shared with many other GM products, that only respond to one out of every 5 touches when trying to adjust them?). Oh, but $50 of chrome-plated plastic (which I’d guess will inevitably start peeling just like the chrome on my mother’s last three Oldsmobiles, before 50,000 mi) will definitely change everybody’s perception.
    Ditch this idea, and the man behind it, quick.

  • avatar

    Maybe it’s the guy who discovered that it is possible to chrome-plate plastic who is responsible for the desperate straits of the American auto industry.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Chrome around the windows would certainly add to the perceived quality of my GM product as it limped into the dealership for the umpteenth time and I steeled myself for the inevitable fight with the service manager for warranty coverage.

    • 0 avatar

      Amen to that, brother!

      I’m sure I would not have sworn off GM cars for life if only my Corvette had had chrome trim around the windows.  It would have most certainly made me forget all about the stuff that broke and took two, three, or more visits to fix.

      Well, now come to think of it, maybe my Vette DID have chrome.  Maybe it just fell off one day and I didn’t notice because that “check engine” light was distracting me.
      B***ards.  They can all take their chrome tape and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

      Aaah, that feels better now.

  • avatar

    I actually like Harley’s designs. 

    In historical context, the ‘longer,lower, wider’ direction was not necessarily a bad thing. And, though not contemporary, one can certainly make a case for some of them being quite striking.  It just gets me that the D3 think their future is in the wrong part of their past.  Get back to designing and building a quality product – not retro styling-  that is the answer.

    This retro-focus is hardly a fresh bullseye for critics.  IIRC, Davis, Setright, and Cumberford all wrote about this 20 years ago, back when magazines were relevant. 

    • 0 avatar

      Harley’s designs were pretty “in your face” with styling touches but it represented to me a design that wasn’t going to pull any punches.  GM, Ford, and Chrysler designers just need to find their “voice” and stick with it, make cars very recognizable as whatever brand they are.  Retro is not the way to do that but I don’t know what the right answer is.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Nutsy Lutz loves him some plasti-chrome?  Who da thunk it?

  • avatar

    Another facepalm moment, courtesy of General Motors.

  • avatar

    Sport-package equipped BMW’s had (maybe still have) “Shadowline Trim”. No, that’s not what Tiger’s been hitting; rather, a blackout finish to the normal chrome around the windows.

  • avatar

    Just for the record, a friend of mine recently acquired a new Lacrosse.  I got a short ride in it a couple of weeks ago.  The interior is impressive. Nicely understated and everything fits together well.  I’d compare it to the interior in a 5 series (plusher than my 3 series).   Nice features like a rear window shade.  I remember all those things.  I had a perception of quality.    

    Unfortunately, I can’t recall at all whether it had chrome window surrounds. 

    I can remember that he’s driving a loaner this weekend because of a problem with his sunroof, though. 

    • 0 avatar

      Sunroof problem, lol, classic GM.  My grandmothers 1979 Oldsmobile 98 needed new sunroof motors every 30,000 miles like clockwork.
      Borrowed an Enclave while girlfriends Vibe was in.  Very very nice, very very expensive.  She has her sights set on an Acadia if we have more than about 2 or 3 children.

  • avatar

    “If you skimp on $50 of chrome, you are reducing the customer’s perceived value of the car by $500 of $600.”
    Yo Bob!….if you add fake buick portholes in the fenders you increase preceived value by Thousands of dollars!
    SHEESH, this coming on top of yesterday’s Announcement that the Aveo will be built in Michigan…why does the new GM sound so much like th old GM?

  • avatar

    Yeah, Minis and those little Lexii got nothin’ on my chrome-trimmed Aveo!
    +1 to fincar1.

  • avatar

    This is where he chooses to draw the line at cost-cutting — useless visual frippery? Hey Maximum Bob, how about an ode to opera windows, vinyl roofs and the other Vegas-bordello geegaws from the 70s that made Detoit an untouchable joke for my generation.  Like the 1978 Thunderbird:

    How about cutting out the penny-pinching on engineering, reliability and durability, the things that really matter, instead of wasting time on some cheap chrome that will look like peeling plastic crap in four years.

  • avatar

    It’s odd that Maximum Bob views chrome door glass trim as the deal maker to get me into the showroom to see the upscale cars the New GM is offering.
    For my money, it’s the former “Customer Incentive Manager” who was just promoted to something or other who understands there is nothing like 8-10 rebates on the hood in the weekend newspaper ads to sell the idea of upscale to bridge the perception gap and get people to push their way into the GM showrooms.

    In related news, pigs can fly if you push them out of a 747 at 38,000 feet.

  • avatar

    Good. Maybe they will give the customer the option of bodyside protection moldings too which have been removed (decontented) on litterally every new car because hopefully nobody will notice and the less than 30 somethings think door jams look better than door guards. Now while your at it put some color back into the nauseatingly boring war time dreary interiors of your cars. You know something other than godforsaken black lung, yawner gray or too light tan! It’s good to copy the Asians and Germans on some things and this isn’t one of them.

  • avatar

    Great so GM is still talking about perception of quality as opposed to building in some actual quality.  And they wonder why their company is still circling the drain.

  • avatar

    “In the ’60’s you could tell an Impala from a Belair or Biscayne because of the stainless steel on the door frame surrounding the window.”
    Visually, that’s true, but the Biscayne’s base engine, at least, was an inline six. The Impala base was the 283 which, mated to the 2-speed auto got 12 mpg on the freeway. I drove a ’65 Impala cross-country (3186 miles) and used 258 gallons. Of course, the gas cost me $81 and change in 1971, but that’s another story.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, that’s not true, the Impala came standard with a six cylinder engine too. The series part of the VIN (first five digits) indicated whether it was a six cylinder or eight cylinder Impala. The Caprice, starting in mid-year ’65 was V8 only (283 in ’65) and by ’68 (and maybe earlier) so was the convertible (307 in ’68). By 1973, Impala & Belair (no more Biscayne) only came with V8 engines.

      Impala’s in the ’60’s got lousy gas mileage because most were equipped with a Powerglide two speed automatic transmission. To make up for the no low-end ratio in the ‘glide, Chevy steeped up the rear axle ratio to give the car some low end launch. The acceleration wasn’t bad for a two-speed but the highway mileage was frequently, as you indicated, in the 12 MPG range.

      The introduction of the three speed Turbo-Hydramatic 350 in 1969, which was a direct fit replacement for the Powerglide, allowed axle ratios of 2.56 or 2.73 which helped with highway fuel consumption.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    You know what’s funny? Bob Lutz made his career in Europe when he was drafted over from BMW to Ford of Germany, and the first thing he did was have the chrome on the baroque Ford Granada painted over in matte black. He was given credit for modernizing the whole image of Ford of Germany with a simple and effective stroke of the brush, so to speak.

  • avatar
    George B

    I agree with fincar1, chrome plated plastic sucks.  Nothing says cheap like plastic pretending to be metal.  If I can get real aluminum cans from the soda machine, why do many cars have fake aluminum interior trim?

  • avatar

    ugh, GM already over-chromes some of their vehicles… anything Denali, the new Equinox, all Caddies… Bob it isn’t upscale, it looks cheap and blingy in most cases… oh and stop using those nasty chrome-tech wheels, you know the ones with the chromed plastic face over a steel or alloy wheel… yuck

  • avatar

    I’d like to remind Mr. Lutz that his chrome window frame ploy will work only if the pieces are aligned perfectly and if they don’t dull down or turn yellow in 18 months.

    Honda missed a quality touch. The rear window motors on my wife’s 2007 Accord are the cheapest sounding units I have ever heard. Has no one ever noted this, or is my wife’s car weird?

  • avatar

    Seems like he’s right, but the act of saying so cheapens the idea. Why tell your customers what is behind the curtain? Might as well reveal that those $2000 navigation systems only cost $500 to put in, $100 heated seats only cost $5 extra etc.

    Every product has simple inexpensive touches that are worth the cost a few times over in the customer’s eyes, but the marketing departments are usually smart enough not to spin it that way. This guy just can’t resist insulting his potential customers.

  • avatar

    For years we were told that the higher perceived quality of European cars was their LACK of vulgar chrome like those of the American land yachts. Now the Germans slather chrome on everything. But it isn’t the good stuff from your father’s ’65 Electra, but cheap bling.
    Lutz has become a tool, and a desperate one at that.

  • avatar

    Why is it so hard for TTAC to keep things in perspective.  Everyone here knows that a strip of chrome isn’t going to make or break GM.  They just want to make their cars look better.  It isn’t like Bob Lutz said chrome is the future to selling cars.  He was referring to how he liked the strip of chrome on the LaCrosse, and how other models were going to incorporate this.  My guess is that all models will have it as an option on higher trims.

    • 0 avatar

      This is in perspective: another example that GM old or new simply doesn’t get it.

      Start with the first GM Deathwatch and you’ll see this is just more of the same.

      TTAC is perspective unlike the Establishment media reprinting  corporate press releases and calling it journalism.

    • 0 avatar

      TTAC’s perspective is to spin anything anti-GM, and in many cases, anti-American auto manufactures.  TTAC’s perspective is not journalism.  Journalism is based on fact.  Depending on your definition, it is a representation of the facts without an attempt at interpretation.
      I would disagree with calling this journalism.  This is blowing something out of proportion.  Bob says he liked the chrome strip and that it would be on future vehicle.  He also said that it adds perceived value to the car.  Correct me if I am wrong, tasteful chrome does this.  Instead of being run by bean counters, it looks like GM wants to improve margins by putting out a better product.  Is chrome the entire answer, no.  But it is going to make the car appear nicer to a potential buyer.  That is all he was trying to say.  Spinning this to make “Chrome” Bob look bad is ridiculous.  Many automakers are putting chrome there on their more upscale vehicles.
      While I agree, the perspective at TTAC is unlike the establishment media, I also find that term funny, what TTAC posts is not journalism either.  It is a bunch of opinion pieces with heavy slants.  Case in point…
      Why does the title say dealt with it?  That alone is adding interpretation by emphasizing the point.  Which deemphasizes the fact that the dealer’s service department was told of the issue and did not fix it.
      Or this one.
      Where TTAC says its “analysis” for stuck floor mats says it is the fault of stupid drivers.
      You rarely find real journalism anymore.  But calling TTAC journalism is laughable.  They are anti-GM.  Everything they print about GM, Bailout Watch, Volt Watch, Opel Watch, Saab Watch, and any other Watch I missed, is completely edited to put GM in a bad light.  That isn’t journalism.  That is telling you what to think.

    • 0 avatar

      Why start a diatribe about how TTAC is anti-GM and use two articles about Toyota’s “unintended acceleration” situation as basis for your argument? The web is full of site devoted to blogs that contain opinion, which are often fact based, but it is still the web. If you believe everything written on the web, we’ll put chrome surrounds on it and see if it flies.
      While I agree that Journalism is lacking in everybody’s world, I think that TTAC has present alternative views about the industry while the MSM were busy with their fiddles. Journalism is only accurate when it represents our views 100%. Now granted, the reality of my life represents 100% of my views, but it isn’t actually so. . .
      Perhaps some extraneous reading about the industry may be in order. There are many books that point out the follies of the entire industry (Foreign and Domestic) that parallel the entire manufacturing and product design phase of durable goods for the American public.
      I have argued that Charlie Wilson’s comments at his confirmation hearings before the Senate were grossly misinterpreted (“What’s good for America is good for GM and what’s good for GM is good for America.”), they don’t portent the devastation that he incurred while in his position.
      Nobody at TTAC said this was about Journalism, it is an alternative viewpoint to a reality. To understand this, the history of the industry involved might be requisite.  There are very few MSM outlets that actually look at the industry as a total, rather; they’d rather accept the viewpoint of their resident expert.
      Harley Earl loved the chrome. He believed that every car should be distinguishable on the highway at a great deal of distance.  His last hurrah was the 1958  model year, which were chrome laden beasts. Look at the 1959s by comparison.
      What you have here, is a market director stating a totally garbled and misinformed ideal. If you love GM, what was it that De Loren proved with the Gran Prix notion in the early sixties? De-chrome the Catalina and provide the Bonneville interior, and damned if he wasn’t correct.
      GM became a lumbering shadow of itself in the mid-seventies, all for the sake of the bottom line. The product line became impossible once the “Intermediates ” were introduced in the early sixties.
      My historical take; General Motors hit their peak in the early seventies, and those watching the decent have wondered how far it will go. We had no opportunity to actually and openly discuss it until TTAC came along. If you feel that you are missing Journalism, you may be correct, but there again, I feel that what’s become Journalism revolves around a 24 hour news cycle, rather that facts and history that may be involved. This has become the new reality of journalism, hasn’t it?

    • 0 avatar

      Notice, the articles I quoted are not to show that TTAC is anti-GM.  It is to show that it isn’t journalism.  I could have used other articles, but I really wanted to put up the example where TTAC said its “analysis” of the floor mat problem was that stupid drivers were to blame.  No, it couldn’t be a design flaw of a manufacture that is praised every day for its Prius.  I can only imagine the headlines here if it had been GM that was having this problem.  If I was trying to prove how anti-GM TTAC is, which I am pretty sure is common knowledge, then I would have used articles that put GM in a bad light.  Such as this one.
      Where Bob Lutz is saying that he liked some chrome on the next Malibu (I was incorrect when I said LaCrosse earlier).  He also mentions how it detracts value when you don’t have it.  He also mentions that many Japanese and German products have this, which is 100% correct.  So why is this a big deal?  GM, telling us they are going to use some nicer materials on products, is spun to be a bad idea.
      Do you see chrome on MB?  Do you see chrome on BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Mazda, Honda, Ford, and Toyota?  Yes, you do.  In fact, you see this very same chrome around the windows.  So, why it is a big deal that Bob Lutz says it is important to have these type of details?  Why is this a big deal?
      Whether you like chrome or not, it doesn’t matter.  That is what the after market is for in both cases.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter what people did with chrome in the 50s, 60s, or 70s.  Times change, style changes, opinions change.  In 10 years, maybe it won’t be chrome.  Maybe in 10 years, chrome will be even more popular.  Predicting that now is anyone’s guess.  But, it is popular to have tasteful chrome today.  Just look around, you will see it.  You can bring up examples from the past.  But we aren’t driving in cars that looked like they were designed in the 70s (and thank God we don’t drive around in the boxy 80s cars).  I know this history of GM.  I know the highs and the lows.  But knowing who was right about chrome, literally, 50 years ago isn’t that applicable to today.  Especially when we are talking about a few pieces of chrome and not some hideously shiny beast of a car driving down the road.
      What is even more interesting is the rest of the article that they didn’t quote.  While GM was trying to keep the lights own, it put several products on hold.  Now that GM has money, it is bringing many products forward.  That is what I found most interesting.  If anything is going to save GM, it is going to be better products that have great reliability.  Nothing else really matters if GM doesn’t get that right.
      I also understand what you say about journalism and how it has changed over time and what it has become today.  My point is that I have seen several cases of TTAC criticizing auto journalist when they provide nothing better.  Maybe you don’t want a reprinted press release, I don’t either, but do you really want articles this slanted as the replacement?  If you read and believed everything that was written here, you would wonder how GM sells a single vehicle.  While I can appreciate another viewpoint to an issue or argument, the lengths that TTAC goes to make GM look like blabbering idiots is unbelievable.  They are no longer trying to argue a case or include “truth” in what they write.  They are simply here, masquerading has a automotive site that should be renamed the biased reason we hate GM.

    • 0 avatar

      You can always go on GM Inside News to get your GM lovin perspective.

      Thankfully TTAC is out there to cut through all that PR spin.

      Lutz’  statement is one more indication that GM still doesn’t get it: an historical, consistent pattern of behavior well documented by their own slow decline and the public’s contempt for their products.

      TTAC coined the phrase “Lutzisms” for a reason. This is another of them.
      It’s not about building better cars [close enough for government work], but tastefully applied chrome that will add “perceived value”. Because the public is so stupid about GM’s cars they” perceive” them as inferior to the competition, [when they’re really better than the competition] we’ll just add chrome to really drive home the point.  

      Right. See why Lutz’ comments are so telling ? TTAC is the prespective to fan boy tunnel vision and establishment media lack of perspective and it’s refreshing. TTAC is not held hostage to the threat of GM yanking it’s ads if the outlet reports something opposite to GM’s spin.

      Didn’t I read something somewhere about not flaming the site ? Just because one doesn’t like what TTAC writes about GM doesn’t make it non factual. It just makes it irritating to pro GM people who don’t like what they read.

      Don’t kill the messenger.

      Wonder if that perceived $500 -600 extra value will be included in that rebate ?

    • 0 avatar

      Let me get this straight, Lutz statement about chrome adding perspective value, which I think is true if you look at how many companies use it, means GM doesn’t get it.  Yes, a small statement from one article in which Lutz was talking about some chrome.  A small strip of chrome around some windows.  Yep, that means that GM doesn’t get it.  Because, everyone is doing it now.  In fact, GM has been too, just look at the current Impala and Malibu.  You will see it.
      I don’t pretend to think GM has been without problems.  They have had several inferior products.  Absolutely, period, end of story.  Many products that were actually good when released were never updated and gathered dust.  They were left behind while other made stride to make it inferior.
      But, how does a comment about chrome some how reflect this?  It only reflects it when that is all you let it be.  Would me saying GM’s use of tasteful chrome really improved the appearance of the LTZ trim be a fault?  What if the article had some GM is removing all chrome from the windows.  What would be the headline here?  GM doesn’t get it because customers want chrome?  The point is customer do want chrome.  There is a perceived value in chrome.  Why do all of the manufactures have this on their top trims?
      Your attempt to put words in Lutz’s mouth about GM’s products being better, ridiculous.  GM knows it has problems.  It knows that not every products is up to par.  Which, if you look at the rest of the article that wasn’t quoted, you will see that GM is moving up development for many of its new products.  But, I guess if you want to focus on the chrome, that is your right to a fault, which you have done.
      I guess since TTAC doesn’t have to worry about GM marketing funding, it must be the only place to get news.  I understand posting an alternative idea to MSM, but this is far beyond that.  Seriously, GM is being run through the mud because of a strip of chrome?  Yes, GM has made huge mistakes in the past.  I am sure GM will make some mistakes in the future, just like any other manufacture.  But this is a strip of chrome.  Why all the fuss?  This is my point.  A small strip of chrome, which is already common on many cars, is now being used to attack GM and all the sins of the past.  Somehow, this small strip of chrome means that GM is going bring out crappy cavaliers again that never get updates and will continue to lag behind every other manufacture on the planet.  Is this true?  Does a strip of chrome mean this?  No, it doesn’t.
      And, IMHO, I am giving constructive criticism.  Keep thing in perspective.  There is more value in the AN article that was left out.  Post that information.  I don’t consider that flaming.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      I only read the first paragraph of your reply to yourself and what I have to say is that if GM would build just ONE decent car, they would not be bashed.  This not being the case, however, with GM putting out millions and millions of pieces of shit, RELEASE THE HOUNDS!!!!  It’s a free-for-all!!

      And TTAC has the ONLY perspective, and I hope they (EN and PN) keep it up and never relent.

      And it’s ‘manufacturer’.  Something that doesn’t apply to GM.

  • avatar

    It might be true Lutz, but you don’t come out and say it, because errr, I wonder why… it seems so simplistic and disingenuous? Geez.

  • avatar

    I prefer a chrome-free car.

  • avatar

    Why stop at chrome? I think a Cobalt would look really cook with tail fins.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      Yeah, and put a shitload of chrome and those same tailfins (rebadged, of course) on the Corvette!!!  Now, there’s something we can sink our teeth into.  Probably could charge $6000 more with those little touches.  Heck, just turn it into a full-blown Batmobile.

  • avatar

    One problem with this is that this kind of statement doesnt translate to wall street. When they hear this its more like “so if we add $50 of chrome to the car, we can sell it for $500-600 more?”

  • avatar

    Lutz Zero vs Knudson:

    In 1968 Time magazine reported that the first thing Knudsen did at Pontiac was head to the design studio to review the 1957 models that were weeks away from production. According to Time, he knew that Pontiac’s problem was its “grandma image.” What he wanted was an image so that “teenagers would shout, ‘Cool man, real cool.’”
    Knudsen told the designers to remove silver streaks of chrome trim from the cars’ hoods, ending a tired tradition. It was about as much as he could do on short notice.

    Quote from:

  • avatar
    also Tom

    Bob, you’re worth every overpaid dollar they’re giving you.

  • avatar

    “True Journalism” is almost non-existent. You have to get your news from various sources.
    Then understand where the publishers are coming from.
    TTAC is a great source of info. Where else can you get to read comments from around the world, and from sources that had direct experience with the auto industry.  The senior mgmt at the auto industry should this instead of  the internal memos and “market studies”.
    As for “Maximum” Bob and his ilk. I wish they would go away.

  • avatar

    KalapanaBlack, I sense you are disappointed with your Malibu? :) That’s unfortunate…I thought it was one of GMs winners.   Honestly.

    Anyway, I want GM to go back to the time where you could tell the models apart by the number of tail lights.  Three across on each side…nirvana. 

    Where’s Mikey?  He should know when they stopped doing that.

  • avatar

    This website is eating posts again…

    Anyway, I was saying that I wish they’d go back to the era when the number of tail lights told you what trim level you were driving. Three across on each side? Nirvana. I don’t know when GM stopped doing that with Chevy. 1970? Where’s Mikey?

  • avatar

    Someone needs to edit what Mr. Lutz says.  So G.M.’s big problem is chrome? Good LORD more nails for the coffin! Is this the best G.M. has to offer? Chrome? I will reiterate my belief in G.M.’s purposeful suicide. I don’t understand it but it seems apparent. Maybe  this is a case of ,”The Kings New Clothes” where not a soul wants to tell him he’s NAKED!!!! Well “You’re Naked!!”

  • avatar

    My dad’s Honda doesn’t have any chrome, I should have noticed this terrible lack of quality and prevented him from purchasing such a vehicle.

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