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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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RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By MrFord on 5/20/2010 3:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
People are out of work, Volt is to expensive, etc, etc, yet people don't have a problem putting down $50,000 on a convertible/crossover/SUV/BMW/you name them.

It's new technology, it's a big step forward, there will be a price premium. Isn't it the idea of the so-beloved "free market", where you can charge as much as the markets allow?

Plus, they're not forcing anybody to buy them, nor they're stopping production of small, cheap car, if that's what people want instead. In fact, they'll be more than happy to sell you a $15,000 Cruze that reuses most of the platform, therefore sharing the costs.


RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By tcjake on 5/20/2010 4:47:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was just notified I am getting a Nissan Leaf in December. All electric with 140 mile range, no gas at all. I drive 22 miles to work. I will be taking the lease option at $349 as I consider this a Beta test. In fact I have to keep a log and upload data as a condition of the lease (1 year). Then I have to turn in the car (for engineers to de-construct I presume).

I am exicted and if not for the Nissan, I would sign up for the Volt. Not because I hug trees (I don't), but because I am a tech guy and I always get the coolest tech if I can.


RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By AEvangel on 5/20/2010 5:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was just notified I am getting a Nissan Leaf in December.


Awesome...hope it works out for you. Sounds like you got a really good deal there.


RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By monkeyman1140 on 5/21/2010 1:32:03 AM , Rating: 2
Don't get too attached to your car. Its already smelling like the EV1 project all over again for consumers.
Nissan may be using this as a PR stunt while it sells more 10mpg GTR supercars.


RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By knutjb on 5/21/2010 4:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, you get the fleet average way up with loss leaders so you can sell other high margin cars many people still want, even those impractical for daily driving. That was why GM sold Hummers, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Nissan sold SUVs and pick up trucks, profit margin.


"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen














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