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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 91TTZ on 5/20/2010 3:41:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then you would be wrong....look up the EV1. A fully electric car actually manufactured by the same company and wildly successful. Also most of the early automobiles made were fully electric. The idea is not new by any standard, it has just been updated with new tech. The only reason we still have these ignorant gas/hybrid cars is due to the simple fact that a purely electric car is not profitable to the manufactures or dealers since the cost or repairs or maintenance is non-existent.


How would you call it wildly successful? The EV1 program cost GM $1 billion and they leased less than 1000 cars. Also, they had to price the least at a point you'd expect for a $30k car, but it actually cost GM $80K-$100K.

Also, electric cars still break down. There are still moving parts that wear.


RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By AEvangel on 5/20/2010 4:07:31 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
How would you call it wildly successful?


Actually I don't Mr. Lutz himself did. Lutz stated that the EV1 would cost too much to build. But in 1994, GM bought control of the NiMH batteries under guise of going into production, and, in 1996 and in 2000, famously claimed that it would have leased as many as people wanted, it was a "production vehicle". The batteries were not even that expensive. The EV1 came in two "flavors": one using advanced NiMH batteries, and the other using cheaper lead-acid batteries. With PSB EV-EC1260 lead batteries, this EV1 had a range over 100 miles on a charge. The cost of this off-the-shelf battery pack is no more than $4,800. The rest of the EV1 is just electronics and bent metal. As for Nickel, it's entirely recyclable; after the Nickel battery wears out, perhaps 200,000 miles, the only expense is melting it down and "reforming" it into a new battery, using all the old metals and components.

quote:
Also, electric cars still break down. There are still moving parts that wear.


Yes, but compared to a car with an internal combustion engine the cost is negligible, since electric have far fewer moving parts. No Oil Changes, no tune- ups, no air filter, all these things combined equals into millions of dollars of revenue for auto repair and manufactures.

I'm not an advocate of all electric vehicles, but I call it as I see it. The only reason we don't have more electric cars on the roads right now is because they are not as profitable as the internal combustion models we now drive.


RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By monkeyman1140 on 5/21/2010 1:42:18 AM , Rating: 2
GM's blatant lie that nobody would but the car was laughable. It had strong support by a bunch of rich hollywood actors who could drop $1,000,000 on a car if they felt like it, and GM was claiming that they refused to buy it at $50,000 a pop. Meanwhile folks were buying the ridiculously expensive Hummer and not blinking an eye at its $80,000 pricetag.

The government even gave tax credits for Hummer purchases, but not for electric car purchases.

It was amazing how corrupt the GOP controlled congress was in the 1990s. They were nothing more than street whores for the oil industry.


RE: Wrong Mr Lutz
By monkeyman1140 on 5/21/2010 1:11:34 AM , Rating: 2
GM was given the $1 billion in research funds by the Clinton Administration which had a program for automakers to develop electric cars.
GM essentially got the develop the car for free. Electric cars are very reliable. The motor will last 100,000 miles before the brushes need replacement, about $100 and 15 minutes of work.

GM's claim that the car cost $100K each is a wild overstatement. They never produced the car in volume, thus the inflated price. They never intended to sell them, which is why they were leased with no option to buy.


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