Lutz Farewell Musings: GM Incapable Of Building A Bad Car
Bob Lutz, set to retire May 1, feels confident he’s left GM fixed and on the right track. In an interview at the Detroit News, Lutz states: “I think I’m leaving the company finally focused back on the right thing, General Motors spent 30 years chasing every kind of metric — hours per vehicle, base-engineered content, parts re-use, attainment of diversity targets — 50 different metrics, and excellent products was sort of one. The naïve belief was if you track every one of the metrics and you do well on every one, the end result is a great car company — not,” According to Maximum Bob, that’s all behind now: “Over 8 1/2 years, we have been able to destroy that whole culture.” And bankrupt the company. Oops; I know, Bob had nothing to do with that.
Lutz said that he knew it was time to retire after walking the floor of the Geneva auto show last month: “I looked at all of those wacko design proposals and really bad stuff from (European designers) and bad concepts, I thought ‘This is not much fun anymore,’ ” he said. Perhaps he’s forgetting the long history of wacky European concepts, like the Quasar Unipower in 1967. The past always looks better as we get older.
Is he worried that GM might backslide after he goes? “I don’t think the company is capable of doing a bad car,” he said, adding that “there would be armed revolution” if GM executives failed to put design first. The Solstice was cute, wasn’t it? Design first; practicality and ergonomics not.And Lutz has some predictions for the future: We will all be soaring the skies in flying cars. Just kidding. But its not that far from that either: In 20 or 30 years, he said, “You won’t be driving. It will all be done by computer. You will program in your destination, put yourself in your car. It will start and drive itself. It may seem sad for some of us, but I don’t think I will be around in 30 years to where I have worry about it anyway”.
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