Why not continue with more GM related news with Lutz.
The gist, Bob Lutz, vice-chairman and head of global product development has worked with Ford, BMW, to name a few and was behind interesting ideas and concepts, working to bring you the raw American sports car by excellence, the Viper. Having moved to GM, he finds himself treading a thin line between passion and financial sense.
GM Is Everywhere. GM is highly diversified with worldwide joint ventures as well as a heavy pension accounting responsibility which weighs its every decisions. Thoughts and rhetoric of GM’s demise are highly speculative knowing how diversified the company is, it could sell off some of its many tentacles and regroup.
The Savior… Much rides on Lutz’s shoulders when in 2002 he came on board to streamline development and production, which greatly effected production line efficiency of pickup trucks and SUVs.
The Not So Good Moves. Making fun of the Toyota Prius and calling it a public relations stunt, was not his highlight, especially considering GM is doing essentially the same around its Volt. Nor was it wise to go back to introducing muscle cars and other head scratching concepts as the V-16 Cadillac 14-liter monster when the rest of the world was working hard on smaller, fuel sipping efficient yet powerful cars, with far superior handling. His views on the hybrid craze were well known, he mocked it.
2008, the year of awakening. It’s hard to understand how 2008 could have taken not only GM, but Ford and Chrysler by surprise like this and have all three squander for solutions and backpedal on fuel efficiency views. Hardly what you would expect from such huge corporations. GM, along its Detroit cousins are free falling while the mocked Toyota is selling its hybrid like hot cupcakes.
We often say smaller, more nimbler players have stepped into the foray of electric vehicles, EVs while the heavier companies cannot turn on a dime due to their billions worth of investments and infrastructure. However, take Toyota’s $1-billion investment on its Tundra pickup truck plant in Texas. As it finally went into full production, the market for big pickups dropped and what did the company do? They retooled the plant to make more fuel efficient vehicles.
It’s All About Listening. This is an example GM needs learn from its rival Toyota, flexibility. Most big companies do not listen to their consumers prefering guessing and even telling their clients what they really want. Even though this approach has worked well for the last few decades, it has also crippled innovations and cannot go against a factor any big corporation should be mindful of, affordability ratio. The weakest point in the chain was and still is, oil price. It’s strange to think only a few makers understood this. On the flip side, it allowed for competition from unlikely sources, smaller start ups.
Will the Volt be enough to save GM? Will using more publicity stunt help? How come we don’t hear them developing a full electric vehicle? We can’t tell you now. All we can say is stay tuned, same bat channel, same bat time!