Maximum Bob: The Big Three Are GM, Volkswagen, and Hyundai

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

It’s strange: When you talk to the big manufacturers in Japan, then they are worried by benchmarking Volkswagen and Hyundai. GM never comes up. When you talk to Bob Lutz, who has been re-hired as a part-time consultant to GM executives, then he is worried by benchmarking Volkswagen and Hyundai. Toyota never comes up. Bob Lutz thinks the Japanese have lost it. Germany’s Manager Magazin disturbed Lutz’s Swiss vacation with an interview, and Lutz, always good for explosive quotes, did not disappoint:

“A while ago, many experts thought, the race for the top position in the auto business would be a dead heat between GM, Toyota, and Honda. This has changed. The Big Three are now GM, Volkswagen, and Hyundai. Toyota is in decline. The Japanese lost their bullet-proof quality image. Their cars aren’t especially pretty. Their driving dynamics is below the level of the best European and American cars.

GM on the other hand has improved its engineering, payroll and healthcare are way down after the bankruptcy. When it comes to platform sharing amongst brands, GM always has been absolutely competitive. Trust me: GM will give Volkswagen and Hyundai a tough fight.”

With Maximum Bob’s, and Martin Winterkorn’s endorsement, I guess it’s safe to buy a Hyundai.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • 84Cressida 84Cressida on Oct 02, 2011

    Just another idotic Lutz rhetroic. Personally, I find every Toyota vehicle to be prettier than the so-called "pretty cars" that he claims GM spits out on a daily basis, and I'd still pit the reliability of a 'Yota over a Government Motors UAW pot smoker car anyday of the week. Why won't this guy just STFU already?

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    • RRocket RRocket on Oct 02, 2011

      @mikey Well 84Cressida at least has proof that UAW workers get high. There have been numerous TV stories on it, with video to prove. I have yet to see any stories about Toyota workers being busted for the same behavior. Maybe it's because Toyota workers know they won't have the union to possibly bail them out if they get caught doing something stupid.

  • Mikey Mikey on Oct 02, 2011

    @RRocket...Trust me on this, in the blue collar world, dope smoking is an every day occurance. I know for a fact Honda, and Toyota workers smoke dope outside on the loading docks. Hint..I was a shipper reciever at GM for a long time. The same truckers deliver parts to all the plants. Live in your fantasy world, if you choose, guys. I've lived and worked blue collar my whole life. Have you? I think not,or you wouldn't have made that statement.

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    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Oct 03, 2011

      @mazder3 Here is something we can agree upon Pch. To say it's only union autoworkers who get high at work or at home, they are fooling themselves. What is interesting, but in most instances not surprising is how it varies based on ones occupation. It is pretty old data but I doubt that it has dramatically changed. I'm willing to bet it is still much more likely to find the guy making pizza, or putting on a roof, getting high on or off the job than say a doctor, nurse or police officer.

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Oct 03, 2011

    General Motors will be the top selling global automaker in 2011, probably at least 1,000,000 ahead of Toyota after matching them in 2010. The company made $5.7B in just the first 6 months and is likely to report record profit for the year. VW is on track to outsell Toyota, too, and was the most profitable carmaker in the world last year. Meanwhile Hyundai-Kia has been growing fast, pushing Ford to 5th place globally, over 3 million behind GM last year. Lutz seems to have some powerful facts on his side.

    • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Oct 03, 2011

      Actually, TTAC projects GM to outsell Toyota by 2.5 million and VW by 1 million in '11.

  • Unhittable curveball Unhittable curveball on Oct 04, 2011

    This is great news for Toyota --the Japanese always bring their A game whenever they are the underdog.