Maximum Bob on the Maximum Vette: Bob Lutz on the 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray
January 14, 2013
by Edward Loh
I ran into Bob Lutz at the unveiling of the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on Sunday night and asked the highly quotable, legendary auto exec and ex-Marine jet pilot for his thoughts on the all-new, C7 Corvette. To the surprise of no one, the former GM vice chairman had plenty to say about the new C7 and its Viper rival. He even called us out for how we do our business.
MT: So you’ve obviously seen the car, but did you have anything to do with its development?
BL: It was in the early stages, and it was a program that got deferred a little bit due to the bankruptcy — we would have liked to have had it earlier. And actually, this is the first new GM car where the design and engineering occurred largely after I left. Which makes me feel very good because it demonstrates to me that the quest for excellence in design and engineering — the emphasis on the customer and on the excellence of the product — has outlived my tenure at General Motors.
See up to now I wasn’t sure, because everything that has come out has been basically stuff that was well under way — including the new Impala when it comes (which is another car that will be excellent) — but that I had a lot to do with. This Corvette I would say I was in at the very beginning, very early design workouts, but other than that, this is purely the new team.
MT: Who would you say then the mantle has been passed to then…who is most responsible for this vehicle?
BL: Well I think Mark Reuss (current president of GM North America) is a strong proponent of product excellence in the corporation. And you know the Corvette guys have always been a special group. They have always been self-motivated, they have always — always — resisted unwise cost constraints. They have always said, “Let us make it good. If it costs a few thousand more, so what? We’re gonna make it excellent.” That has always been the philosophy of the Corvette people.
My point is, it should not be a couple of thousand more — in the case of the normal cars — let it cost a couple of hundred more. But it is better to have a car that exceeds its cost objective a little bit and is truly excellent, than one that meets its cost objective and nobody likes it.
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