Ask The Best And Brightest: What Would You Ask Bob Lutz (To His Face)?
Typically we try to accompany our book reviews here at TTAC with an author livechat, giving you, our readers, a firsthand opportunity to engage influential thinkers in TTAC’s trademark frank, open discussion of the most important automotive issues of the day. Today, however, is something of an exception. As I noted in my review of Car Guys vs Bean Counters: The Battle For The Soul Of American Business, Bob Lutz’s call-out of myself led to an opportunity for me to exchange words with the former GM “car czar,” which in turn led to his graciously agreeing to meet me for a face-to-face interview. Because Lutz is in the middle of a book launch media blitz (not to mention my own fairly well-laden to-do list), that will have to happen later this summer… but I assure you, it will be worth the wait. Meanwhile, I thought that we should at least honor the spirit of our author livechats by giving you the opportunity to submit your own burning questions for “Maximum Bob.” I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to get answers to all of them, but I’ll certainly do my best to make sure that the most germane queries at least get an airing. After all, if I’m going to tangle with one of the more formidable figures in the auto industry, I’ll need the full weight of TTAC’s inquisitiveness and savvy at my disposal.
Ed, does Lutz talk in his book about the financial ground GM was on in 2005, about the time the TTAC Deathwatches started? If so, it'd be interesting to hear how product development arcs aligned with the real, not reported financial situation.
Why do so many of the passion projects you championed at GM not seem to be profitable vehicles? Or the opposite question, Why does Toyota successfully sell so many vehicles with the "appliance" design approach so despised by "car guys"? If he struggles, give him the hint that most people just want a reliable appliance.
If the 'appliance' cars is what 'everyone wants' then why did the Japanese try to build Lexuses (Lexi?), S2000's Mr2's Supra's ,Acuras, CRX's or Z cars. Why do Europe still build cars, especially Porsche and BMW? Why is GM still one of the(if not 'the') biggest car makes in the world? I think Lutz is on to something, it's just that he happens to work at a company that just doesn't give a flying rats a** about it's customers, and probably haven't since the dawn of time. (well, at least after they knocked Ford off the first place in the 30's) And they don't understand (and I'm not sure Lutz does completely grasp it either) that they are not the only manufacturer in the world. They truly expect the american government to help them out because they finally did what everyone else has been able to do allready, build a f***in hybrid. So now they can save the world (since they still think american customers have no nother choice than a GM hybrid)
hmmm, one question comes to mind.... how could you single-handedly destroy the Pontiac nameplate??? Lynn Meyers, Susan Doperty, Bob Kraut and various other assclowns that got your rubber stamp of approval. I find it interestiong that you can tell others at GM design staff that you had the most "fun" while working on Pontiac-themed products, but where is the legacy (other than the Kappa and products from the land of kangaroos???). Other than stuffing a V8 in archaic W-cars and slapping non-fuctional hood/fender louvers on various platforms; there is NOTHING that this Pontiac enthusiast can think of.