Bob Lutz commented at great lengths in the Washington Post in a recent article related to the Detroit automotive industry. Throughout the article, he touched on many aspects of the industry including the American car buyers' desire for a throaty V8 and sexy styling in a car. But Lutz also admitted that the Volt has a certain place in America, and noted that the Volt is essential to GM.
Lutz talked about something that we will term the 95 / 5 ratio. He believes that there are two types of American car buyers. Lutz believes that 5 % of buyers are what he calls East and West coast intellectuals. These buyers desire to be cutting edge, environmentally friendly, economically minded, and long for a vehicle like the Volt. Then there is the other 95 % of American buyers who still long for a monstrous V8, sexy styling, and cars that evoke passion. This buyer goes for the Corvette, the BMW M5, the Porsches and so on.
According to Bob Lutz, "East and West Coast intellectual establishment kind of lives in its own world. When you get to the broad American marketplace, excitement about autos is still kind of defined in the way it used to be. When you get out into the marketplace, it's probably just 5 percent of the public that desperately wants something environmentally sound and is willing to pay a premium for it."
Strong words come from Mr. Lutz, but he does see the Volt as the exact type of car that GM needs to make at this time. However, he believes they must make it to satisfy political demand for fuel efficiency, not to evoke passionate sales to the broader American public. He does not believe that the general American consumer is demanding a car like the Volt.
According to many, Lutz is an automotive genius. His ideas have been pursued by several automakers for 45 years now. Yes, he is a sort of relic in the industry, but at the same time he holds partial responsibility for the Volt. Lutz knows the industry, usually knows what needs to be done, and always seems to get it right.
It will be a great loss within the industry as Mr. Lutz enters into retirement later this year.
Source: Washington Post