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  (Source: Hybrid Cars)

Bob Lutz is a legend among auto enthusiasts  (Source: Patrick Arena/The Car Lounge)
Lutz may be back if things go sour

Questions regarding price and whether the Chevy Volt will be sold, leased, or both have remained unanswered until now. While the price is still up in the air, GM has announced that the Volt will be available for sale and for lease, and the once-again newly retired GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz could not be more excited for the November 2010 release date. 

"I love it. I just absolutely love it," said Lutz. "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 it's the greatest achievement of my career."

Lutz, 78, has been in the automotive business for 47 years, nine of which were spent with GM. He is a former Marine fighter pilot who has worked as an executive at all three Detroit carmakers as well as BMW. He officially retired from GM on April 30 of this year, and had a final farewell party on Tuesday in Warren, Michigan where his wife, Denise, and several GM executives and employees were in attendance.

"I think this is the third time I've retired," said Lutz. "I think this time I can actually achieve it and not go back to work full time for anybody. 

"If I see things going wrong, there will be the ghost of Bob Lutz, and it ain't going to be friendly."

Lutz was praised as one of the largest reasons for GM's $865 million profit success after having to claim bankruptcy last year. Lutz was to retire late last year, but stayed on board to work with the creative aspects of GM's marketing, advertising and designs. 

"GM is in good shape coming out of Chapter 11 because of Bob Lutz," said Tom Stephens, vice chairman of global product development. "You taught us how important it was to listen-not only to other people, but to listen to your gut. In the automotive industry, that gut reaction is probably the most important reaction."

Lutz received two gifts at his retirement party, one being a replica of GM's Supercharged LS9 engine and the other a set of aluminum scale models, most notably the Chevrolet Volt Plug-in hybrid. Lutz has made the Volt the center of GM's campaign to become the industry's environmental leader. He has compared the Volt to President Kennedy's moon shot, saying it will be "sensational," and "will have the same sort of symbolism."

"I don't think it would be a vast overstatement to say the Volt is in many ways symbolic of a renaissance in the American auto industry," said Lutz. "If we pull it off successfully, it can really put us back at the top of the heap of automotive technology instead of being called laggards that are being left behind by the Germans and the Japanese."

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt will carry a 40 mile all-electric range and on-board range-extending gasoline engine. While such new innovations will likely make some buyers skeptical, GM expects the Volt to be well-accepted by the public. Now, we wait for some purchase figures.

 



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By Chudilo on 5/20/2010 2:35:07 PM , Rating: 0
I'd love to be able to use an electric car, but it's basically impossible in an urban environment. I live in an apartment building. There is no way for me to charge it from an outlet.




By monkeyman1140 on 5/21/2010 1:21:39 AM , Rating: 3
Thats kind of a strange comment. Normally with new technology, the product goes out, and the infrastructure follows.

Could you imagine if people in 1900 refused to buy cars because there wasn't a gas station on every corner? We would still be using horse drawn carriages.

If electric cars come into vogue, you will see apartment complexes adding charging stations in order to attract renters.


By piroroadkill on 5/21/2010 4:26:50 AM , Rating: 2
Leaving a cord plugged in, exposed in the street where it can be vandalised, for hours at a time, is a lot, lot different to standing at a pump for a couple of minutes to fill your tank


By JediJeb on 5/21/2010 9:40:24 AM , Rating: 1
But who is going to be the first apartment dweller to buy a Volt and wait a year for the electrical outlets to be added?


By JustTom on 5/24/2010 11:43:49 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is there is already an infrastructure to supply fuel to vehicles. And remember mass adoption of automobiles took a rather long time, part of the reason was the sheer impracticality due to the lack of a proper infrastructure (refueling, well paved roads, and mechanics). EVs will be competing with a well entrenched alternative and will have to show some sort of advantage to adopters to succeed.


By Hiawa23 on 5/21/2010 10:30:04 AM , Rating: 2
Volt looks interesting, but I have two cars already. a 1997 Honda Civic, gets about 30 with 225,000 miles, & a 06 Mitsu Lancer Ralliart, gets about 25mpgs, so no cars for me, plus the Volt looks to be only for the wealthy with thigh price tag. I am more concerned with how do you keep gasoline prices to minimu as I don't plan on buying anymore cars. I can't wait to see how it is received when it releases. As far as Lutz goes, God bless him, looks like he had a long career, & GM looks to be moving the right direction, which all Americans should be in favor of, political nonsense aside. whether you agree with the bailouts or not seems like they may have worked, or prevented GM from going completely off the cliff which would have caused even more problems, IMO.


By JustTom on 5/24/2010 11:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd love to be able to use an electric car, but it's basically impossible in an urban environment. I live in an apartment building. There is no way for me to charge it from an outlet.


I have no idea why you were voted down. Yours is a valid and important point that needs to be addressed.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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