May 19

Bob Lutz Bids Farewell to GM

 

[ad#post_ad]Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors retired on May 1st.  I had the pleasure of a one hour exit interview with Mr. Lutz before he left the company.  Much of what he’s said has appeared in several hopefully interesting articles over the last few weeks. Yesterday GM threw a going away party for the 47 year auto veteran.  ”If I see things going wrong, there will be the ghost of Bob Lutz,” he said told party-goers, “and it ain’t going to be friendly.”

Below are his final unpublished comments to me.  Mr. Lutz, though not working at GM anymore will continue to participate in the auto industry.  For now he is writing a book about GM, its downfall, his time there, and includes a chapter about the Volt.  He plans to complete it before the end of the year.  He will also be invited to and will appear at the Volt launch ceremony, the car he made possible.

For those that are really interested, I have included the raw 60 minute total audio conversation between us at the end of the post.

Do you think the consumers will get the benefit of an extended range electric Volt over a pure EV?
Yes.  Because the educated people like yourself and readers of your site will be among the early adopters and they will be telling all their friends.

We’re already telling them.
That’s what I figured, of course.

As the consummate gar guru for combustion cars for decades it sounds like in your heart you are really interested in getting off petroleum.
I am.  Fundamentally one of the appeals, to be totally honest, is to demonstrate General Motors’ technological capability and to reinforce that fact that people were wrong to believe that GM didn’t have advanced technology.  General Motors can do anything it wants to do and can do it better than any other car company in the world.

I truly believe that and the Volt demonstrates that.  And demonstrating that in the face of the then infatuation of America and the American media with that paragon of automotive virtue called the Toyota Motor Company, that was very important to do.  Just draw a line in the sand and say hey there’s only one technology leader in the automobile business and that’s GM.

That was important.  Secondly I fundamentally like electric cars.  As you know I have a battery background from my time at Exide.  I deeply believe in the continued progress of advanced batteries and I am the owner of five Segways and one Vectrix electric scooters. So I personally own more electric mobility devices than most people you know.

You’ve driven the Volt a lot and had it home, Iv’e read.  How do you actually like driving that car?
I love it.  I just absolutely love it.  I think it’s a great car to drive. I’m personally going to get myself on the list for one, no question about it.  No question that I think its the greatest achievement of my career.

How do you see the future of GM?
I think the future looks brilliant.  The company is very streamlined now, it does far less business with itself.

We have a much cleaner balance sheet, we’ve just repaid the government loans.  Im not allowed to say anything about future profitability but we certainly have a justified hope of making some money this year.  We also have a justified hope of doing an IPO in the reasonable future to start replacing government ownership with private ownership again.

But the most important thing is that this company now is 100 percent dedicated to product excellence.  You can see that in all the recent things that we have launched which are all selling extremely well.

That ethic of only the best is good enough because were General Motors and we know how to do the best cars and trucks in the world we just didn’t always have the will or the focus to do it.  We’ve always had the technical means.  Now we’re back at it, I think we’re approaching the top of our game again and Im very very proud of what the guys are putting out and what’s planned for the next few years.

Do you feel Mr. Whitacre is doing good, I know at first he said he knew nothing about the car business?
I feel very good about it because Ed likes to delegate and he’s very quickly figured out who he can delegate to and who not.  Ed is not going to interfere in or meddle with the vehicle development process.  He has delegated that to Tom Stephens, Jon Lauckner, and Ed Wellburn.

Its not that he doesn’t want to know but he asks ‘what is the value in my approving this stuff?’  We say ‘well you’re the CEO.’  He says ‘YeahI know but I’m not a specialist in this stuff, how do I know if this vehicle is going to be great or not?’  We say ‘you don’t but we’ll tell you all about it.’  He says ’you guys know what to do, you know what the rules are. We have to do the world’s best vehicle in each category and we have to make money on it.  I assume since you know it’s the goal you guys are not going to propose a bunch of stuff that’s not the world’s best and wont make money.’  We all said ‘you’re right. ‘ He says, ‘then why do I need to see it?’

Well that’s the way he manages it and I’ll tell you its very very refreshing and I think its going to be very effective for the company, because the creative people are back in charge of product development and that hasn’t been the case around here since the late 60s.

After your retirement to you plan to stay involved in the electrification of the automobile in some manner?
I’d like to.  It depends on what kind of board memberships are offered to me.  I’m certainly not going to start an electric car company.
AUDIO INTERVIEW

[ad#postbottom]

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 at 6:19 am and is filed under Original GM-Volt Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 92


  1. 1
    FME III

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    FME III
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:22 am)

    I wish Mr. Lutz fair winds and following seas. And I offer sincere thanks for ensuring that the Volt did NOT, as many expected, become nothing more than a PR stunt.

    But I have to wonder, after reading his response to the last question (about GM management) if he is totally comfortable with all the recent one-step-forward, one-step-back comments about future plans for using Voltec in other vehicles.


  2. 2
    JohnK

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JohnK
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:31 am)

    What a great guy. I REALLY like what he said about Ed Whitacre also.


  3. 3
    RB

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    RB
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:33 am)

    Best wishes, Maximum Bob.
    Your enthusiasm gave gm (and us) an inspirational vehicle in the Volt.

    I love it. I just absolutely love it. I think it’s a great car to drive.
    Yes. That reaction will sell the Volt despite its relatively high price.
    Just build some and see.


  4. 4
    Dave K.

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:35 am)

    Looking forward to having a watermellon size electric motor in my next vehicle. Thanks, Bob, for your solid leadership in keeping the Voltec system alive.

    =D-Volt


  5. 5
    Jim I

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:36 am)

    I would say to enjoy your retirement, Mr. Lutz. But guys like him never really retire…..

    So, instead, I will just say to enjoy whatever it is you decide to do!!!!

    And since you probably still have a little bit of pull inside GM, could you possibly get my name on the Volt list somewhere close to where you will be in line???? :-)

    Have Outlet – Ready For EREV

    NPNS


  6. 6
    JohnK

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JohnK
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:45 am)

    FME III: But I have to wonder, after reading his response to the last question (about GM management) if he is totally comfortable with all the recent one-step-forward, one-step-back comments about future plans for using Voltec in other vehicles.

    As enthusiasts and early adopters we tend to have on rose colored glasses. I suspect that there are difficulties about the Volt that we are not privey to. Evidently the cost of it is still high. I remember some early interviews where various GM people were talking about how the batteries were going in the right direction, both engineering-wise and cost-wise. Of course there are other development costs, like tooling for assembly plants that just can not be written off as R&D, but only as capital costs for particular assembly operations. That has to be recouped. I think things are on a good track, but the proof will be when the volume gets serious. Gee, wouldn’t it be great if GM is secretly ramping up volume now instead of next year? OK, that is probably not the case, but I can dream…


  7. 7
    Rashiid Amul

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:50 am)

    From the article:
    But the most important thing is that this company now is 100 percent dedicated to product excellence. You can see that in all the recent things that we have launched which are all selling extremely well.

    That ethic of only the best is good enough because were General Motors and we know how to do the best cars and trucks in the world we just didn’t always have the will or the focus to do it. We’ve always had the technical means. Now we’re back at it, I think we’re approaching the top of our game again and Im very very proud of what the guys are putting out and what’s planned for the next few years.

    I am so happy to see this. They really shot themselves in the foot by letting quality drop while relying on their good name to get them by. Those days are over now. They are a new company and need to be on the top of their game. No question my next car will be a GM product.

    Good luck in retirement, Mr. Lutz. I will be sure to buy your book. I’m sure it will be a fascinating read.


  8. 8
    Eco_Turbo

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:59 am)

    JohnK said:

    I suspect that there are difficulties about the Volt that we are not “privy” to. Evidently the cost of it is still high.

    I read somewhere that GM was happy to stop building the Corvair, because the air cooled engine cost $7 more to produce than other standard engines.

    Please don’t do something like this to the Volt.


  9. 9
    Tom

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:59 am)

    I hope these cars are also fun to drive !
    Tom


  10. 10
    Herm

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (7:05 am)

    Bob, you are missed already..

    I like what he is saying about the CEO, I hope the next CEO is not a letdown..

    “because the creative people are back in charge of product development and that hasn’t been the case around here since the late 60s.”

    Lol, that was a zing on the bean counters.. in any case it was the early ’60s.. that was the pinnacle of GM and it has been downhill ever since.. it reminds me when the beancounters deleted a $4 sway bar in the Corvair, over the complaints of the engineers.


  11. 11
    CMull

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CMull
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (7:06 am)

    Thanks for the great Lutz article(s) Lyle! I have enjoyed gaining a little insight into the world of GM. It was interesting to know that Mr. Whitacre is allowing the creative control process to happen!

    Good luck Mr. Lutz! We all hope GM maintains your enthusiasm and support for the Volt and the Volt technology going forward!


  12. 12
    Dave G

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (7:08 am)

    From the article: Well that’s the way [GM's CEO] manages it and I’ll tell you its very very refreshing and I think its going to be very effective for the company, because the creative people are back in charge of product development and that hasn’t been the case around here since the late 60s.

    This is the most positive comment I’ve heard on GM’s CEO. He sounds like a people manager, not a micro-manager.

    The best boss I ever had didn’t know that much about the details, but he had a really effective way of dealing with people, and he knew how to make good decisions when necessary.


  13. 13
    nasaman

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    nasaman
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (7:14 am)

    ”If I see things going wrong, there will be the ghost of Bob Lutz,” — “and it ain’t going to be friendly.”* Reading this, I howled out loud in laughter …and I know he really means it!

    *I’m sure GM’s phone book and shirt-pocket list of executive’s home #’s, will stay handy at home


  14. 14
    joe

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (7:17 am)

    It was really appropriate for you two to get together….. Bob Lutz and Lyle for the farewell to GM!

    Lyle, you have helped GM to tell the world about the Volt and I’m sure Bob Lutz and the rest of the GM employees appreciate all the work you’ve done, and I personally thank you as a retired GM employee.

    I wish Bob Lutz many more happy years of life’s enjoyment!


  15. 15
    Herm

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (7:17 am)

    Eco_Turbo: I read somewhere that GM was happy to stop building the Corvair, because the air cooled engine cost $7 more to produce than other standard engines.

    An air cooled engine in the back of a car would have never survived the anti-pollution rules of the 70s.. the Corvair was pretty much killed by the Ford Mustang.


  16. 16
    George S. Bower

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:20 am)

    Bob L.,

    You remind me of my father. A doctor, a professional, dedicated, and who truly loved what he did: during his professional career—and after—till the day he died.

    Hope you get to keep flying that jet.

    (PS-It’s OK to burn massive petrol quantities every now and then, just for the fun of it.)

    Do a fly over for me.

    George S.
    Tonto Basin, Arizona


  17. 17
    Van

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Van
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:24 am)

    Thanks Mr. Lutz for helping put GM on the track toward a viable electric car.


  18. 18
    Dan Petit

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:27 am)

    Bob will become “The wise man from afar”, or, the clear viewpoint from the outside.

    We all get to a point on occasion where we have a given task for which we have been too long thinking in the same old terms or methods regarding new *or* old problems, not yet solved or inefficiently approached.
    Especially within group dynamics that may have stagnated or within which an impasse has occurred. Bob Lutz was the one who got the Volt past these things.

    REALLY looking forward to Bob’s book, and the NEWGM IPO.


  19. 19
    William

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    William
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:33 am)

    JohnK: What a great guy. I REALLY like what he said about Ed Whitacre also.

    I do, also. Apparently, Whitacre has a good track record and reputation. I recently spoke to an AT&T employee and they said that Whitacre was extremely well-liked at AT&T and that he did a great job. They said he’ll do a great job at GM (and already is).

    Someone once told me that it is best to let the engineers, innovators, product design specialists, etc. lead R&D and NOT the accountants. Of course, that is pretty much common sense but GM got into major trouble because they let the accountants run the show. Nothing against accountants, but when you cost-cut to the point where you lose creativity and innovation in your products (i.e. the 80s, 90s and early 2000s), that spells ‘doom’ for any company.

    Whitacre is doing what he does best (lead the company on the business side) and letting R&D do what they do best (make amazing products).


  20. 20
    DonC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:38 am)

    Car journalists everywhere are wearing black. Things just will not be the same without the quotable Bob Lutz around. But that’s what happens when someone is a “on of a kind”. Good luck to him and hopefully we’ll hear more from him in the future.

    As for Whitacre, rather than effusive praise this strikes me as “damning with faint praise”. It would be interesting to ask him how it would have been different if Fritz Henderson hadn’t been fired.


  21. 21
    Mike 555

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mike 555
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:42 am)

    “because the creative people are back in charge of product development and that hasn’t been the case around here since the late 60s.”

    I read that and was like “WOW!”. Interesting interview. I have experienced management suppressing whole companies before. It’s a crying shame when people are so worked up in fear that they can’t make a decision to piss without checking with “management”.

    Of course what I describe might not be what Lutz is referring to though.


  22. 22
    jeffhree

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhree
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:44 am)

    Thanks Mr Lutz. I always enjoy the Exide battery stories and that seems to rock the Volt naysayers back on their heels every time. Best of luck in all your new endeavors, and try to remember to let the grand kids have time for a nap once in a while….following in the footsteps of “Maximum Bob” could be very tiring for young people? After all nothing gets ‘em going like a great inspiration, thank you.


  23. 23
    DonC

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:48 am)

    William: Whitacre has a good track record and reputation. I recently spoke to an AT&T employee and they said that Whitacre was extremely well-liked at AT&T and that he did a great job.

    Whitacre grew SW Bell by using a wave of liquidity and cheap money to acquire other companies in a contracting industry. He was also was bailed out by C Michael Armstrong, who managed to destroy AT&T by making very large and very bad bets. Organic growth? Please. If you look at T’s stock price you see the limits of Whitacre’s consolidation strategy. So what has he done so far at GM? Decided to retain Opel and to reacquire Ally Bank (the old GMAC). Basically it’s “Back to the Future”.

    Compare him to Mulally or Gohsn, ask if you can think of what vision each has for their company, and reach your own conclusions.


  24. 24
    The P.E.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    The P.E.
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:49 am)

    All the best Bob.
    It would be my wish to end my career on such a good note, leaving the world in a little better place than it was.

    I am waiting for a few words from Statik. Surely he has something he would like to say.


  25. 25
    N Riley

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    N Riley
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:53 am)

    As always, I continue to wish Bob Lutz the very best. He has given us many great vehicles over the years with the Volt as his crowning achievement. Thanks, Bob, from a fellow Marine.


  26. 26
    CorvetteGuy

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CorvetteGuy
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:56 am)

    I wish I could afford to retire… Hey, Bob! If you don’t need your ‘demo car’ any more, can I have it?


  27. 27
    Crookieda

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Crookieda
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (9:19 am)

    Herm:
    An air cooled engine in the back of a car would have never survived the anti-pollution rules of the 70s…  

    Then how do you explain the yugo? Or the beatle? Or the porche 911?


  28. 28
    Steph

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steph
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (9:22 am)

    I wish at some point in my life to have the opportunity to meet Bob Lutz.

    He is an incredibly inspiring guy.


  29. 29
    stuart22

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (9:23 am)

    This is like icing on a cake – nice job Lyle with everything… your site, your efforts, your connections.


  30. 30
    Volt45

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Volt45
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (9:28 am)

    Thanks for the ride, Bob.


  31. 31
    Rashiid Amul

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (9:38 am)

    Mike 555: It’s a crying shame when people are so worked up in fear that they can’t make a decision to piss without checking with “management”.

    That’s the mess I am currently in. It totally sucks.


  32. 32
    LazP

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LazP
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    As a transition vehicle to electrification, the Volt has no par out there. The next 20 years the volt type technology (Voltec?) will rule. BEVs will gradually gain ground at the expense of the ICE as the battery and/or storage technology increases. Lutz’s legacy will be his promotion of the Volt that no matter what GM now does will prevail.


  33. 33
    Shawn Marshall

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Shawn Marshall
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:17 am)

    Happy Retirement Mr. Lutz

    Maybe you can focus attention on the AGW corpo/politico scam. Show people that it is a crock-a-poo as you said.

    Thanks for being a Man of Intellect; honest, creative, discerning and determined.

    PS – I never criticized your tie – maybe you would send a pink one to Statik as a retirement memento with a picture of the first production Volt.


  34. 34
    CDAVIS

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CDAVIS
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:32 am)

    _____________________________________________________________________
    Captain Lutz (aka Maximum Bob); +1

    GM has returned back to a company with an ethic to produce cars that consumers want to own in big part thanks to Lutz helping lead a charge against creeping GM mediocrity born from short term financial calculus and unchecked corporate bloat.

    Lutz’s comments about Whitacre were positively framed. My reservation about Whitacre is that I have for a long time been less than impressed by AT&T’s customer service/support; hopefully that does not carry over to GM. It’s OK and good for a CEO to entrust his divisional operators to both make important decisions and locally manage operations but the pursuit of excellent customer service/support requires clear signal and example from the very top. I wonder if Whitacre understands the importance of his regularly (in person) touching ordinary GM customers in order for him to see GM through the unfiltered lens of a customer. That is arguably one of the most important functions of a CEO that desires his company to win over the hearts and minds of its customers; it can not be exclusively delegated.

    I look forward to reading Lutz’s book and hope that he makes a mention of Lyle/GM-Volt.com in the chapter about the Volt.

    Because it would be good for America and the world to be more energy secure, I hope that Lutz will find ways to continue to inspire the Electric Car Revolution…perhaps team up with Bill Gates’s nuclear project. Electric Cars + Nuclear Power = Energy Security.
    _________________________________________________________________


  35. 35
    Streetlight

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Streetlight
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:34 am)

    Lyle, a well-done interview. I especially took notice of Bob’s comment “General Motors can do anything it wants to do and can do it better than any other car company in the world.”

    For over the last 100 years GM has always served its calling. Building just about anything and everything on wheels – with quality.

    Bob, your presence has been at the forefront guiding GM to restore its world-wide sterling reputation. All the very best and take care.


  36. 36
    LazP

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LazP
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:35 am)

    DonC:
    Whitacre grew SW Bell by using a wave of liquidity and cheap money to acquire other companies in a contracting industry. He was also was bailed out by C Michael Armstrong, who managed to destroy AT&T by making very large and very bad bets. Organic growth? Please. If you look at T’s stock price you see the limits of Whitacre’s consolidation strategy. So what has he done so far at GM? Decided to retain Opel and to reacquire Ally Bank (the old GMAC). Basically it’s “Back to the Future”.Compare him to Mulally or Gohsn, ask if you can think of what vision each has for their company, and reach your own conclusions.  

    Whateever the reason Whitacre hss essentially reconstructed the Old ATT&T mainly excepting Verizon. Compare Ivan Sideberg and Whitacre. The former committed to spent some 28B for
    fiber optic technology into each household, whereas the latter 8B to exclude the last mile. Only time will tell who was the smarter.


  37. 37
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:43 am)

    I have not been a great fan of Mr. Lutz. In the words of the late, great, Jim Healy:

    “Comment…………………………………………………………………… No comment!

    On a somewhat related subject, the MSN news page currently has an article running about yesterday’s GM profit announcement. They do have some nice things to say about Mr. Lutz, BTW. In discussing how the car market has “fragmented” over time, they make a very interesting comment:

    “Back then, a successful vehicle might generate 400,000 sales annually, while today 100,000 is often considered a hit.”

    This seems pretty germane to our discussions of Volt production plans. The new “Automobile” magazine comments that the new GM management has discovered (!) that the Corvette is consistently profitable with annual sales substantially less than 100K, and that they have decided to fund the development of the next model, which had been on hold. The Corvette has long struck me as a good example of walking the tightrope of price vs. sales volume to maximize profitability. So maybe they’re dumb like fox with their Volt production plans.

    As an other than rich consumer, I don’t necessarily agree with this, but I’m just saying…….


  38. 38
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:45 am)

    Good luck Bob.

    If you buy a Volt, i’m sure you will be one of the very few 80-year-olds with one. Show the Cadillac & Buick drivers, and people sitting on the fence about electric, that anyone can drive this car even though its top of the line tech.


  39. 39
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (10:51 am)

    kdawg: If you buy a Volt, i’m sure you will be one of the very few 80-year-olds with one.

    #38

    Well I’m going to be 67 so I’m pretty sure that, by the time I get one, I’ll be 70, LOL


  40. 40
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (11:01 am)

    LazP: The former committed to spent some 28B for
    fiber optic technology into each household, whereas the latter 8B to exclude the last mile.

    I think we know the answer to this. Look at wireless. Verizon spent heavily on the network. AT&T did it on the cheap. Which company has better growth in subscribers and higher revenues per subscriber? Which company has better growth?


  41. 41
    Rashiid Amul

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (11:39 am)

    Noel Park:
    #38Well I’m going to be 67 so I’m pretty sure that, by the time I get one, I’ll be 70, LOL  

    lol. I’m 46 and I’m pretty sure that by the time I get one, I’ll be 70.


  42. 42
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (11:46 am)

    Lyle, dude! Where’s your Pink tie?


  43. 43
    Starcast

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Starcast
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (11:56 am)

    DonC: Compare him to Mulally or Gohsn, ask if you can think of what vision each has for their company, and reach your own conclusions.

    The only reason Whitacre is still in charge of GM is because if GM piad what it cost to hire a “Mulally or Gohsn” type it would make Obama and friends look bad. He is not there because he is the best choice, but because he is a low cost choice. Think about if GM paid 20 Million or so to hire a big name CEO the shit would have hit the fan. I expiect to see a new CEO after the IPO and the Government ownership is out of the way.


  44. 44
    CDAVIS

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CDAVIS
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:03 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    Lyle & Lutz photo w/ captions:

    http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/6/lylelutz2.jpg
    ______________________________________________________


  45. 45
    Statik

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Statik
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:05 pm)

    The P.E.: All the best Bob.It would be my wish to end my career on such a good note, leaving the world in a little better place than it was.I am waiting for a few words from Statik. Surely he has something he would like to say.  (Quote)

    Shawn Marshall: Happy Retirement Mr. LutzMaybe you can focus attention on the AGW corpo/politico scam. Show people that it is a crock-a-poo as you said.Thanks for being a Man of Intellect; honest, creative, discerning and determined.PS – I never criticized your tie – maybe you would send a pink one to Statik as a retirement memento with a picture of the first production Volt.  (Quote)

    A few words? No…I don’t do ‘few’

    …and I have tried to get Bob to give up that tie to me. Even GM spokesperson Rob Peterson twice tried to wrestle that pink tie away from Bob on my behalf. No dice…yet, (=

    (There still is a open bounty of a crisp Benjamin to whoever can make that happen for me)


  46. 46
    r weaver

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    r weaver
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:13 pm)

    As one who has some experience in retirement Bob has probably already noted everyday is now Saturday. He can get up – go to bed when desired, work on or not work on any project he wants, enjoy the day, and generally have a great time.

    Tribute -

    Bob’s work in electricity,
    his noting the significance of the Telsla car,
    his standing in the auto world especially at GM,
    his understanding the need to create – design for excellence,
    his MAXIMUM BOB drive to get the VOLT designed -into the marketplace,
    his from the heart commentary about the car business has been a great contribution to the car industry …especially electric cars!

    Bob should do one more project …. find another like him or create a clone of himself ( excellence) to keep the TORCH HIGH!

    As many say today … Mr LUTZ you ARE the man! :+}


  47. 47
    Huffster

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Huffster
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:32 pm)

    Lyle, I just listened to the entire 1 hour interview. Thank you for posting. You may want to edit off the last 2 mins. You left the recorder on and can be heard singing and mumbling in your car. :)


  48. 48
    Timaaayyy!!!

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Timaaayyy!!!
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:35 pm)

    Herm: “because the creative people are back in charge of product development and that hasn’t been the case around here since the late 60s.”

    That was my favorite quote, too. Hey, it’s all about the product.

    My least favorite part was the confirmation that Whitacre is not a visionary. Actually, Lutz is a bit of one himself. But too much of a loose cannon to be in charge of everything. And the new CEO search should be much easier now that things are looking up for the company.


  49. 49
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:38 pm)

    Rashiid Amul: lol. I’m 46 and I’m pretty sure that by the time I get one, I’ll be 70.

    #14

    Paging Mr. Tagamet. Paging Mr. Tagamet. Where’s the resident optimist, now that we need him?


  50. 50
    Timaaayyy!!!

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Timaaayyy!!!
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:38 pm)

    Huffster: Lyle, I just listened to the entire 1 hour interview. Thank you for posting. You may want to edit off the last 2 mins. You left the recorder on and can be heard singing and mumbling in your car.   (Quote)

    Is that the Volt dance song? 8^0


  51. 51
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:44 pm)

    Starcast: The only reason Whitacre is still in charge of GM is because if GM piad what it cost to hire a “Mulally or Gohsn” type it would make Obama and friends look bad.

    #43

    I prefer to believe that he is doing it out a sense of public service. I believe that the President asked him to do it and, as James Carville says, “When the President asks, you can’t say no”. I have been consistently critical of GM management, but I will give Mr. Whitacre credit for this.


  52. 52
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:52 pm)

    OT, but I just got back from the bank, where they show CNN all day to entertain the punters waiting in line. On the annoying little white “ticker tape” at the bottom of the screen I noticed a headline, “Auto manufacturers agree to make electric cars noisier”, LOL.

    I don’t mean to trigger off another round of “gas tank size”, or “hydrogen” like beating of the dead horse, but I really did have to LOL when I saw it.


  53. 53
    Timaaayyy!!!

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Timaaayyy!!!
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:55 pm)

    Noel Park: “Auto manufacturers agree to make electric cars noisier”, LOL.

    Yeah, just import the cheap junk from China. Bingo–noisier. :}


  54. 54
    Richard C

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Richard C
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (12:56 pm)

    This man’s a giant in his field. And we just hope that individual vision such as Bob has shown with regard to the Volt, is not replaced by “collective” vision. Collaboration is great in teams and groups of creators – but with invention and innovation, human achievement has always been driven by individual vision. Which may be informed by a higher wisdom, yet arrives through the vessel of men.

    Bob brought that spirit to GM and the Volt project and it has sparked a major transition in the automotive industry. And likely salvaged GM’s business. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of out of the box thinking; the maverick view, and independent thought. Just as refreshing as Bob’s muscle cars, are his perception of the electrification of transport and a willingness to speak his mind…

    Thanks for the leadership Bob. Your MIG has got us looking into jet aircraft of our own. Plenty of sky yet to explore!


  55. 55
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:00 pm)

    Noel Park: OT, but I just got back from the bank, where they show CNN all day to entertain the punters waiting in line. On the annoying little white “ticker tape” at the bottom of the screen I noticed a headline, “Auto manufacturers agree to make electric cars noisier”, LOL.

    Car tunes!!!!

    /I want the “2 Live Crew” Pop that coochie.
    //Or Sir. Mixalot……I like big butts and I can not lie…..
    :-P


  56. 56
    Loboc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:01 pm)

    Noel Park: make electric cars noisier

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/19/autos/electric_car_noise/

    LoL!!! First we got too much noise pollution. Now we got too little.


  57. 57
    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:04 pm)

    ”If I see things going wrong, there will be the ghost of Bob Lutz,” he said told party-goers, “and it ain’t going to be friendly.”

    Good.

    Letting it be known that you’re writing a book should give you some extra leverage as well, until it comes out. Very clever (… and I also would like to read it!)

    “I’m certainly not going to start an electric car company.”

    Awww, why not?

    I know! Maybe you could start an electric pickup truck company!


  58. 58
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    Timaaayyy!!!: Yeah, just import the cheap junk from China. Bingo–noisier. :}

    #53

    God forbid, but you know it’s coming. Thank you Warren Buffett.


  59. 59
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:10 pm)

    Loboc: http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/19/autos/electric_car_noise/

    LoL!!! First we got too much noise pollution. Now we got too little.

    From the link…
    “”As a person who walks my dog in Virginia, where there are no sidewalks, I’ve been startled by hybrid cars, too,” said Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.”

    Doesn’t state which Hybrid car. If it were a Hybrid Civic, guess what? The ICE is always ON!!!
    If they want to make a case, be specific. Just cuz it’s a Hybrid doesn’t make it quiet.

    /not flamin on you Loboc. no worries.


  60. 60
    Timaaayyy!!!

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Timaaayyy!!!
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:10 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Car tunes!!!!/I want the “2 Live Crew” Pop that coochie.//Or Sir. Mixalot……I like big butts and I can not lie…..   (Quote)

    Both are classics in Timaaayyy!!!’s CD library.

    “I like the way you lick that champagne glass…” ROFLMAO

    And the video for Baby Got Back has got to be in the top 10 of all time.

    Check out Rough Sex by Lords of Acid. Very funny, too.


  61. 61
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:14 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Car tunes!!!!

    /I want the “2 Live Crew” Pop that coochie.
    //Or Sir. Mixalot……I like big butts and I can not lie…..

    Loboc: http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/19/autos/electric_car_noise/

    LoL!!! First we got too much noise pollution. Now we got too little.

    #55 & 56

    OMG, I did it now. Shame on me.

    Sorry guys, but the article says that NHTSA will have to approve the sounds and that no personalizing of sounds in the way that phone ringtones are downloaded will be allowed.

    Thanks for the link Loboc. +1 Man you guys are fast. Amazing. It’s actually worth reading if only for laughs. For example, NHTSA will establish a requirement for how many db are needed at various increments of road speed. Where will it all end, LMAO?


  62. 62
    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:16 pm)

    Noel Park: OT, but I just got back from the bank, where they show CNN all day to entertain the punters waiting in line. On the annoying little white “ticker tape” at the bottom of the screen I noticed a headline, “Auto manufacturers agree to make electric cars noisier”, LOL.

    CaptJackSparrow: Car tunes!!!!

    /I want the “2 Live Crew” Pop that coochie.
    //Or Sir. Mixalot……I like big butts and I can not lie…..

    Old and busted: Downloading ringtones.

    New hotness: Downloading cartones …

    [Page 1 of 203]

    Hmmm, let’s see;

    Diesel truck/Jake brake, (Now, that’s pretty loud)

    Formula One, (No)

    “Loud Pipes” Harley, (no not that noisy)

    `60s Batmobile turbine, (umm, maybe)

    Star Trek accelerate/decelerate,

    Star Wars speeder,

    Scuba Sub noise from “Thunderball”,

    Disney cartoon jalopy,

    “Hi I’m Billy Mays”, (how about “no?”)

    “I like big butts and I cannot lie” (unh unh. Everybody will think it’s Cap’n Jack coming)

    Ah! Here we go!!

    The Jetsons. [clickety]

    But Seriously: One of the young engineers in NY seemed to think downloading “car tones” was doable, but he was thinking about suites of inside-the-car “chimes”.

    One thing about making outside sounds on purpose is that speakers can be aimed towards the front corners, where it’s actually needed; as opposed to spraying it out in all directions or out the tailpipe like conventional cars.


  63. 63
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:20 pm)

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson): I know! Maybe you could start an electric pickup truck
    company!

    #57

    I bet he could pick up Phoenix pretty cheap at the moment. Sorry, no pun intended.


  64. 64
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:21 pm)

    Timaaayyy!!!: And the video for Baby Got Back has got to be in the top 10 of all time.

    Check out Rough Sex by Lords of Acid. Very funny, too.

    This one’s an all time favorite MILF song…
    “Fountains of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom”

    So for all those with pacemakers, hold on to your chest…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVJmwYKy7eM&feature=related


  65. 65
    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:27 pm)

    Noel Park: Sorry guys, but the article says that NHTSA will have to approve the sounds and that no personalizing of sounds in the way that phone ringtones are downloaded will be allowed.

    Awwww. Just like the Fed to spoil everyone’s fun.

    Still, it may just mean that you’d pick from a list of NHTSA-approved noises, and that there still might be some room for individuality.

    /yeah, right.


  66. 66
    DonC

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:35 pm)

    Starcast: The only reason Whitacre is still in charge of GM is because if GM piad what it cost to hire a “Mulally or Gohsn” type it would make Obama and friends look bad. He is not there because he is the best choice, but because he is a low cost choice. Think about if GM paid 20 Million or so to hire a big name CEO the shit would have hit the fan. I expiect to see a new CEO after the IPO and the Government ownership is out of the way.  

    GM, as a company which received extraordinary taxpayer support, has limits on executive compensation, and this limits how much it can pay a CEO. And yes, I’d expect a new CEO as soon as those limits are lifted, if for no reason other than Whitacre is also older and probably not that excited to stay on for years.

    But this hardly matters. Empirically, just as spending more on health care doesn’t get you better outcomes, so spending more on CEOs doesn’t deliver better results. You’re looking at Mullaly and saying “they paid him a pile and he delivered”, but you’re forgetting they also paid Jacques Nasser a pile and then some and he didn’t. And then of course there are the CEOs of Honda and Toyota who have been paid relatively little and delivered big time. And if you think that’s unusual, the NFL draft, where people are basically doing the same thing just at a different level, proves each year that judging talent is a crap shoot. In business it’s worse because the skills needed can be quite different so success at at one level may not translate that well to the next level. In fact there is no correlation between success at one level and the next, which is why large organizations become sclerotic over time and why some have argued the best formula for avoiding this is to promote people randomly.

    This will BTW never happen. Too many people with a vested interest in maintaining the illusionary narrative, including of course the consultants who get paid handsomely to maintain it.


  67. 67
    LeoK

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LeoK
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:58 pm)

    Huffster: Lyle, I just listened to the entire 1 hour interview. Thank you for posting. You may want to edit off the last 2 mins. You left the recorder on and can be heard singing and mumbling in your car.   (Quote)

    That was the little tune from the VOLT dance that Lyle was mumbling….:-)


  68. 68
    Texas

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Texas
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (1:59 pm)

    From that picture, it looks like Bob is already getting some time on the links. Congratulations Bob!


  69. 69
    LeoK

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LeoK
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (2:09 pm)

    Lyle – thanks for the great posts on your conversations with Bob – they add a great amount of insight and background for everyone on this site. My biggest concern with Bob’s retirement is “Where will Lyle get his material from?”…. but I think you’ve got that covered!

    I’ve personally promised Bob that I’ll wear a pink tie in his honor the day I get my first drive in a VOLT…. I encourage everyone else on this site to do the same. I think it is a fitting tribute to the guy who got it done!

    Bob, all my best!

    Go GM. Go VOLT. Bring it on!!!


  70. 70
    Steve

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steve
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (2:35 pm)

    Makes me wonder if Ed might be a little too hands off and too trusting. I guess we’ll see if his management style works and he’s striking the right balance eventually.


  71. 71
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (2:39 pm)

    DonC: But this hardly matters. Empirically, just as spending more on health care doesn’t get you better outcomes, so spending more on CEOs doesn’t deliver better results. You’re looking at Mullaly and saying “they paid him a pile and he delivered”, but you’re forgetting they also paid Jacques Nasser a pile and then some and he didn’t. And then of course there are the CEOs of Honda and Toyota who have been paid relatively little and delivered big time.

    #66

    Amen. +1


  72. 72
    James

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (4:32 pm)

    Rashiid Amul: From the article:But the most important thing is that this company now is 100 percent dedicated to product excellence. You can see that in all the recent things that we have launched which are all selling extremely well.That ethic of only the best is good enough because were General Motors and we know how to do the best cars and trucks in the world we just didn’t always have the will or the focus to do it. We’ve always had the technical means. Now we’re back at it, I think we’re approaching the top of our game again and Im very very proud of what the guys are putting out and what’s planned for the next few years.I am so happy to see this. They really shot themselves in the foot by letting quality drop while relying on their good name to get them by. Those days are over now. They are a new company and need to be on the top of their game. No question my next car will be a GM product.Good luck in retirement, Mr. Lutz. I will be sure to buy your book. I’m sure it will be a fascinating read.  (Quote)

    Sorry Rashiid, but I’m going to have to disagree. GM has to show us something first. We can’t just take some outgoing executive’s bright shiny superlatives as some kind of guarantee. I can only think of one car that GM has produced that showed leadership and creativity, and possibly a class rivaling, if not leading performance, and that is the Cadillac CTS and CTS-V. One that may be at least a valid argument would be Corvette, although it’s rough around the edges compared to any Porsche, yet you’d be right that it’s superior price-for-performance-wise. I wouldn’t take a C-Series pickup over a Tundra because down the road, one is going to be nearly trouble free, and solid as a tank over bumps without squeaks or tons of niggly issues – and that’s the Toyota. Don’t take my word for it – read up – ask people who bought them. Throw out the rednecks and fanboys, and find truly objective people.

    I think patience is required. We have to sit and watch if GM truly is “on top of their game”. So far, and I mean as of today, GM hasn’t shown me anything that I can buy. Sure even before bankruptcy their quality was up a couple of ticks, but they knew a few years back they had to up several aspects of the cars and trucks or they’d be laughed away – or hit bankruptcy earlier than they did.
    I don’t think the UAW is totally at fault, but look at the offshore companies building cars in America with American workers who’ve resisted the UAW and build superior product. Now I’m sure some GM flag waver will mention Toyota’s recent burps, and how some of their flaws have been exposed – especially growing too fast. But can that person speak with the authority of an automotive journalist, someone who has years of experience comparing all the manufacturer’s wares? The answer in short – no they cannot.

    It’s strange to hear Detroit auto execs talk about, how they “had some quality issues at one point…”, etc.. When Mr. Lutz says GM has always had the ability to build the world’s best cars and trucks in each category, NO KIDDING. It’s what I’ve always said, due to the high cost of hiring a UAW worker, and the executives pining away over the bottom line, GM is hamstrung in making the top cars in each category, and it hasn’t, and still doesn’t. Nobody puts a Malibu in front of an Accord or Camry — nobody. It’s not bias, it’s professional opinion. I can step into a Malibu or Focus and still see plastic quality that’s below standard. I can still talk with friend’s who bought a top-of-the-line Tahoe showing off their OnStar, only to see them a year later and “oh, that thing doesn’t work anymore”, and “that part just sort of, fell off”… GM still struggles and battles with it’s union costs, it’s bloated, old-world philosophies ( let’s mete out a few Volts in a limited market area ). They have had to go on a diet, and it was only that they were forced to do so. They showed what they were made of by not trimming off excessive brand-engineered plasticmobiles many moons ago.

    Setting aside attention to detail and quality of interiors ( two things savvy buyers jump on ), Malibu, Impala and Equinox are not superior to their competitors in any respect. Just read the shootouts in Motor Trend, Car & Driver and Automobile. Many American journalists have always wanted to speak kindly about the latest Cadillac or Chrysler, but they just had a hard time seeing through the obvious quality lapses, and most of all, reliability issues. Especially – Especially compared to it’s rival car in that class or category. Consumer Reports is a good meter. Look back at Buyer’s Guides last year, or decades back – look at brand reliability.

    Today is a totally different playing field for GM, for Ford and Chrysler. The onset of electrically motivated cars is small on their radar compared to the onslaught now with us from our own soil from Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia. The dawn of the Chinese car is also upon us. Given the turtle-like progress giants like GM have shown, even tiny upstarts like Suzuki have become much more competitive in the last two years alone.

    GM really has to show us something. That something is Volt and MPV5. And fast. My biggest concern is that when, if I’m given the chance, I buy my Volt. Will the quality and materials be watered down to price-point as to make your typical GM rattlewagon after 60,000 miles? Google Buick SUV water leaks ( Made in Canada ). Google auto comparos in EVERY category. Seriously, when Bob Lutz says GM can make the best cars, ….He is only correct in that the engineering studios and labs have made some dynamically progressive leaps.

    Sometimes, it’s the less exciting stuff, like seams in a seat, or the thickness of a door panel. Switchgear that’s not made from molded model car plastic, that clunks or clicks with the precision and robustness of a Mercedes. A car that can perform on every level, including longevity – with or above it’s competition. THAT, Mr. Lutz, is what makes a car the best in it’s category – Not pie-in-the-sky, limited edition, car show concept renditions. Not experiments let out on our roads in limited numbers. Not tech excercises to show the Japanese and Germans we can do it. Not panel gaps and on-road performance that nearly matches competitor’s.

    The Volt is incredibly, fantastically exciting. Mr. Lutz says he feels the Volt shows that GM can do anything it wants to do. I’ve always known GM can do great things. I’ve also always seen them relegate those things to cobweb-filled museums, collections and back rooms. Mr. Lutz says GM can show Toyota it’s the technology leader. In my opinion, they only can do that by mass producting the Volt and it’s more practical ( family car ) offshoots.

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME


  73. 73
    The Equalizer

    -6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    The Equalizer
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (5:08 pm)

    Why all the praise ?
    Was this guy not on the same team (with Slick Rick and Fat Fritz etc.) who blew $80 billion dollars of GM’s own money and drove the company into the ground. Then he sticks around to take another $80 billion from the taxpayers and burns thru that like a drunken sailor. Yep that is Mr. Lutz’ legacy.

    $160+ BILLION of pure incompetent waste and lack of vision.

    Sorry but if you follow the money the whole management (which Mr. Lutz was a member) at GM should be jailed for fraudulent activity and corporate maleficence.

    You people seem to have a very short and selective memory to heap praise on such a fellow.

    Oh and I’m sure when his book comes out he will blame everybody but himself for running GM into the ground and ruining the lives of so many former employees at the General.


  74. 74
    ECO_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ECO_Turbo
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (5:13 pm)

    I’ll buy the Cherolet Volt, because it does what I need it to do, at least according to reports, and my short test drive. As for other GM cars, I see good stuff at the top, Buick, Cadillac, Corvette. These cars win battles, all the other stuff GM makes will or won’t win the war.


  75. 75
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (5:28 pm)

    I finally had the time to listen to the complete interview and it’s a worthwhile investment of time. A lot of the interview has appeared before here but there is never any substitute for original source material. Nice job Lyle!

    I found the answer about production numbers to be somewhat more encouraging than imagined. My only regret was that during the discussion about the unavailability of high pressure hydrogen Lyle didn’t ask about natural gas. Hey, you can’t have everything.


  76. 76
    Noel Park

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (5:33 pm)

    James: I wouldn’t take a C-Series pickup over a Tundra because down the road, one is going to be nearly trouble free, and solid as a tank over bumps without squeaks or tons of niggly issues – and that’s the Toyota. Don’t take my word for it – read up – ask people who bought them.

    #72

    Well i dunno who you talked to who bought them, but our two C-Series pickups are excellent. I wouldn’t trade them for anything else on the market, least of all a Toyota, LOL. I drove the Suburban I had before I got my C-3500 over 300K miles. I had it for 15 years. I towed heavy trailers up and down the west coast many times. I don’t see how you can do any better than that. The C-1500 we had prior to our current one was owned by our company for 27 years. It still started up and did the job every day, but it had gotten so beat up through hard work it just wasn’t worth restoring.

    So again, I don’t know who you talked to who bought them, but I bought them, and I say they’re outstanding. -1


  77. 77
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (5:47 pm)

    ECO_Turbo: I’ll buy the Cherolet Volt, because it does what I need it to do, at least according to reports, and my short test drive. As for other GM cars, I see good stuff at the top, Buick, Cadillac, Corvette. These cars win battles, all the other stuff GM makes will or won’t win the war.  

    I’m sorry, I was only thinking about cars. There’s no question GM and Ford build the best trucks on American roads. If they don’t sell all the trucks bought over here, well thats just marketing. Nobody builds better trucks than Gm, Ford and Chrysler, –or Ford, GM, and Chrysler.


  78. 78
    Herm

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:43 pm)

    Texas: From that picture, it looks like Bob is already getting some time on the links. Congratulations Bob!  

    It also looks like Lyle is tearing up.. what a softie! :)


  79. 79
    James

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:44 pm)

    Noel Park: #72Well i dunno who you talked to who bought them, but our two C-Series pickups are excellent. I wouldn’t trade them for anything else on the market, least of all a Toyota, LOL. I drove the Suburban I had before I got my C-3500 over 300K miles. I had it for 15 years. I towed heavy trailers up and down the west coast many times. I don’t see how you can do any better than that. The C-1500 we had prior to our current one was owned by our company for 27 years. It still started up and did the job every day, but it had gotten so beat up through hard work it just wasn’t worth restoring.So again, I don’t know who you talked to who bought them, but I bought them, and I say they’re outstanding. -1  (Quote)

    My brother purchased a top-of-the-line Silverado in the nineties. It was packed with all the options. He towed a 24 ft. fiberglass boat with it on occasion, well within it’s specified gross weight towing capabilities. At the onset, he’d noticed large distinct “clunks” when shifting the auto trans from reverse to drive, or vice-versa. He’d try it without a load, same thing, just less pronounced. After three loaner cars and three joke assessments from the “I hear nothing, I see nothing” service crowd at his dealership, we started asking coworkers and drivers of same-year Chevy pickups we’d see out in public, at the gas pump or at the hardware store. Sure enough, most said, “yeah, mine does the same thing, and either wondered if it was normal, or had taken it in to the dealer only to have the same treatment. Turns out a factory-to-dealer memo leaked out to the press somehow, a year later, and in it was a plainly stated admittance from GM to the dealers that a flaw was made in that iteration C/K pickup that would be attended to in the next generation. They clearly stated to dealer’s service departments to just pass off the situation and only fix the U joints at fault on customer’s like my brother who persisted repeatedly until something was done. In GM’s memo it stated the estimated cost of this approach versus a re-design which would have cost tens of millions more.

    This is just one case. But it shows the difference between a company who stands buy it’s product and one who just stands by.

    I was in the auto business and watched friends with zero car care ability put Toyota compact trucks through hell and back. One of my good friends kept getting hit by bad drivers, buying his Toyota pickup back from the insurers for a few bucks and driving it camping and to work. One day an Acura salesman was pointing out a firetruck to his son in the backseat and pummeled into the back of said Toyota at 40 mph, yet the truck bed showed only minor damage. He bought it back ( again – now using his Toyota truck as a second source of income-lol ) from the insurance company, attached the bumper with wire and kept on. Pleated bed and all. On one occasion, this, the world’s most dented, dismal Toyota was on a men’s retreat from church deep up in the high elevation woods of Mt. Rainier. It was Sunday night and everyone had to get home. While following my friend’s Toyota descending down a particularly rocky, ditched mountain road we noticed John had high-centered the two wheel drive truck and had punctured the oil pan, black oil ( he NEVER changed it ) was leaving a stripe out back as he went. We honked, screamed and pleaded with him to stop. After shoving a wedge of wood in the oilpan and pleading with him to leave it there until we could come up later or have it towed, he insisted on driving back the 160 miles or so back to his condo. Certain that he’d blow up we followed, and yet he made it back! He didn’t put a drop of oil in it ( did I mention John wouldn’t open up a hood and get his hands dirty if his life depended on it? ) and drove it to work despite my offers to drive him! In the end John sold the truck for $400 and moved to Germany for work. With 247,000 miles on the clock, that truck was a big reason why I bought my T100 4×4 in 1995 which I still own and is strong as an ox. J’ever notice those God-forsaken places like mountainous Afghanistan or deepest Africa out in a desert with no end – inhabitants plug along in Toyotas or Land Cruisers that look like they’d been peppered by a gattling gun, run through quicksand and used by jihadists for bomb practice? If you need more convincing watch Top Gear’s nutballs try to destroy a Toyota pickup in hilarious but unsuccussful ways on YouTube. Over several sessions they tried everything from burning it up to even setting it atop a twenty story building demolitioned by dynamite, only to have it survive the fall …and start! It’s so amazing as to almost be unbelievable, but it’s there, for you and me …to watch and see. And no I don’t work, and never have – for Toyota.

    If for one instant, you figure the UAW isn’t at the bottom of the domestic auto industry’s standards, just look at how the government will stand tall and set C.A.F.E. guidelines – setting forth furious work on innovation and efficiencies, then watch, as with the EV-1, how GM will use it’s lawyers and lobbyists to prove what a shameful impact on it’s faithful UAW workers these mandates will bring – then watch…Today as in Congress’s re-drawing of the latest mandates, and in 1999′s California legislature watering down it’s C.A.R.B. standards thus torpedoeing the EV-1.

    If that’s not enough for you, just place a Chevy Colorado against a Toyota Tacoma and compare them in every aspect. If you walk away choosing the Colorado for anything but price, you’re just plain needing your head examined. It goes on and on. Do you think for one instant a Cobalt is superior to a Corolla? If so, examine the records of who bought what during “Cash For Clunkers”. The biggest new car numbers from this program were Corolla and Prius. What does that tell you? That American cars are what people want? Why is that?

    Let’s hope GM is the New Orleans Saints story, and not the Detroit Lions. Dogged Saints fans endured countless seasons of mediocrity bordering on hopelessness. Remember the years they put sacks over their heads at games and labeled themselves “Aints”? Well changes were made, and today despite great setbacks, they are the Super Bowl Champs at last. The Detroit Lions? Don’t even go there!


  80. 80
    Guy Incognito

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Guy Incognito
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (6:48 pm)

    Happy re-retirement Bob, it sucks they could’nt keep you around long enough to see the Volt on the road being driven by normal schmoes like me. Also, its sad to see you leave just as GM was becoming profitable again since 2007.

    In your retirement Bob you should do some traveling….see the USA in your Chevrolet ;-)


  81. 81
    Red HHR

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Red HHR
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:22 pm)

    Lutz,,, Lyle,,, & P.J. O’Rourke…
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203771904574173401767415892.html

    On TOP GEAR USA! Now that would be show I would watch every week.
    /just dreaming…


  82. 82
    Tom

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:26 pm)

    James: Do you think for one instant a Cobalt is superior to a Corolla? If so, examine the records of who bought what during “Cash For Clunkers”. The biggest new car numbers from this program were Corolla and Prius. there!  

    We have had our prius in for repair 16 times it has left us stranded on the side of the road 3 times it is by far the least reliable car we have ever owned . I can show you the service receipts and now the warranty is over. So for us the volt can not come soon enough. And yes I understand this is unusual.
    Tom


  83. 83
    Red HHR

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Red HHR
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (8:43 pm)

    Tom: We have had our prius in for repair 16 times

    Ouch! Sorry to hear that. The Prius is the mpg champ. However our GM cars are more friendly and polite. While relatively new, our Prius displays some oddities. However if the Prius lasts as well as our (many)GM vehicles, we will happy.


  84. 84
    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Zachary Taylor (Jackson)
     Says

     

    May 19th, 2010 (9:13 pm)

    James

    If you listen very, very carefully, you may just be able to hear the small voice of a Nissan somewhere behind you; calling:

    “James ….. James ….. “


  85. 85
    OhmExcited

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    OhmExcited
     Says

     

    May 20th, 2010 (12:10 am)

    Dear Bob,

    Thanks for your contributions to the auto industry over the years. I have always enjoyed listening to your interviews and speeches. You have a way of explaining things in simple but not too simple ways; a salesman who isn’t sleazy and actually understands the nuances and technical significance of the product he is selling.

    I will always remember your speech at the Detroit Auto Show where you announced and explained the strategic significance of the Volt. You said you were more commited to the Volt than any other previous product you were involved with, and I believed you wholeheartedly. When 95% of the speeches at auto shows tend to be corporate BS, your personal pride and devotion to the product was palpable, and I could sense that your interest went much beyond your financial or career interests. It must be satisfying to know you were part of changing the automotive world and indeed help lay the foundation for getting America off its oil addiction, and the negative consequences that come with it, whether national security or environmental.

    If I’m lucky enough to ever be offered and afford a Volt I’ll tell my kids as we are driving that Maximum Bob was one of the guys who saw the light and made it happen.

    OhmExcited


  86. 86
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 20th, 2010 (1:22 am)

    There must be a new article tonight. I was editing ( trying to make it shorter! ) my last post when the power went out for 2 3/4 hours. Ironically, I stayed up last night into the wee hours finishing up my lil’ solar panel project! Sadly it rained all day today, but I did set up my deep cycle batteries with the inverter to get some CFL and LED lighting if nightfall came upon us still out of electricity.

    Jackson? Not at all! You have to admit once you get past the little Leaf’s looks and unmanaged battery cells, that lease does begin to look interesting, thinking about 2nd and 3rd gen batteries… But no, tonight’s experience with that uneasy feeling of not quite being ready for a power outage – scrambling to blow the dust of the ol’ Honda generator – looking for cords…blast it!…etc etc… Smirking at myself for not having my solar experiment up and ready to at least provide a few hours of peace of mind without dragging out the gas gen….. It kind of brings up those familiar weaknesses of straight electric. “Gee boss, I can’t make it in today, there was a power outage last night and my Leaf is dead…”

    To Tom who has had miserable fortune with his Prius… I’m so sorry to hear that’s been your experience. I’m on year three with ours and it’s been 100% trouble free. To Red, yes Prius are a bit quirky if you compare them with cars that have come before it. Volt will be even more so. You learn to put up with the Prius shortcomings – lack of low end grunt, not much faster to 60 than a minivan full of soccer players…rain-snow traction is bad – but you didn’t buy it for those reasons, you bought it to send Abdul back to his tent on his camel. You may have purchased it because it emits 70% less pollutants into the air compared to other midsize/compacts. When I sold Volvos back in the day, I was surprised at first, that Volvo and even Mercedes builds lemons. It’s a whole new subject how an otherwise top-line company with stellar credentials and standards can still put out a citrus fruit off the line now and then. I don’t know if I ever will be satisfied as to reasons I’ve heard as to how that happens ( “domino effect”, law of averages…etc. ), all I know is it happens to the best of them.

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD THEM THEY WILL COME


  87. 87
    John W

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    John W
     Says

     

    May 20th, 2010 (1:37 am)

    Finally Don C. has heard what i’ve been preaching about the numbers.. Geez!

    DonC: I found the answer about production numbers to be somewhat more encouraging than imagined.  


  88. 88
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 20th, 2010 (1:54 am)

    No new article – maybe there’s something very interesting on TV tonight. Today’s thread pooped out!

    Any takers on my GM/NFL teams comparo?

    Is GM the New Orleans Saints or the Detroit Lions? Have another team whose history fits in your humble opinion?

    Remember these days?

    1980

    paperbag.jpg

    2010

    New_Orleans_Saints_Super_Bowl_XLIV_Champions.jpg

    2008 Lions

    large_detroit-lionsmlive.jpg

    Let’s hope they’re the Saints!

    RECHARGE! James

    IF YOU BUILD THEM THEY WILL COME

    P.S. – go ahead and give me all the -3s you want, Chevy lovers – I just read my tagline referred to in a major publication’s article on the Volt. :)


  89. 89
    Dave K.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    May 20th, 2010 (4:58 am)

    James: Is GM the New Orleans Saints or the Detroit Lions? Have another team whose history fits in your humble opinion?

    The O.J. Simpson Bills 73′ & 75’

    In 73’ OJ rushed for 2000 yards, in 75’ he was better…2,243 total yards and 23TD’s in only 14 games!

    It was the half way point of the NFL season in 73′. O.J. was standing at 1000 total rushing yards. The Bills lineman and O.J. had a heart to heart talk and decided they were going for 2000. The lineman agreed to block and O.J. agreed to run as hard as he could.

    How did O.J. rush for 2000 yards in 73′? The team had the will to make it happen. It’s the same with GM. The Volt, after tax credits, will cost the same as the wildly popular and huge selling Prius. Frankly, the Prius isn’t even in the same league as the Volt. The Volt wins on comfort, quiet, handling, efficiency, and power. And will most likely win in the dependability and general maintenance areas as well. Produce the Volt in huge numbers. It’s a clear winner.

    =D-Volt

    oj_simpson_bills.jpg


  90. 90
    Eco_Turbo

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    May 20th, 2010 (5:51 am)

    GM, please don’t let Volt come up a yard short this fall by not having enough of them available.

    Titans_Yard_Short.jpg


  91. 91
    Rashiid Amul

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    May 20th, 2010 (6:22 am)

    The New York Jets will win the Superbowl this season.


  92. 92
    dwwbkw

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    dwwbkw
     Says

     

    May 23rd, 2010 (3:53 pm)

    In response to James’s comments about how he loves Japanese cars, especially Toyota, I’ve owned two Hondas, a 1980 Accord and a 1985 Accord SE, both bought new. The 1980 was a great car – great fit and finish and very reliable. On the basis of my experience with that car, I bought the ’85 thinking I would have the same experience. WRONG! After the warranty ran out, the auto transmission crapped out, to the tune of over $2600 to replace. The sunroof broke and had to be replaced. Shortly after that, I got rid of it and bought a year-old ’91 Cadillac Seville. Best car I ever owned. The leather seats are real quality – those in the Honda were thin and coming apart. My wife has owned two Caddys – a ’79 Seville (a real classic) and now a ’99 Deville, both excellent cars. Since my Honda experience, I’ve never seriously considered a Japanese car. Consumer Report’s love affair with any car that is not American makes me sick. They are so biased in their outlook. Even when Ford brought their quality level up to that or better than the Japanese cars, CU only gave them an average rating. I’ve been a CU subscriber for many years, but I’ve learned to take what they say about cars with a big grain of salt.

    BTW, in 2007 I finally gave up my Seville, which I loved, and bought an ’08 BMW 535i because I could not find anything comparable to it from Cadillac. I liked the CTS, but it was a bit too snug for me to fit into – it’s really meant to compete withe BMW 3-series. The 5-series is just roomier and adapts better to my 6′ 1″ height and size. That’s why I’m so interested in the Volt – hopefully it will be as comfortable as my ’91 Seville, with all the attributes of electric drive.