GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Redesigning General Motors with style, energy
Royal Ford
The Boston Globe

Bob Lutz sat down with the Globe for a wide-ranging interview at the New York International Auto Show earlier this month.

Here is an edited transcript of that interview:

Before you came to GM, you came to visit the New England Motor Press Association and you said, hypothetically, that if you ever had clout at GM, you'd get rid of Oldsmobile and make Cadillac a world-class car. That has happened. So what are you going to do with Buick?

I doubt I had anything to do with either of those because the Oldsmobile decision was made before I got there and Cadillac was well on its way to renewed health. But Buick will respond to treatment. We're seeing already that it's no longer seen as a vehicle purely for older people. Just like the Cadillac Sixteen signaled where Cadillac would like to go in terms of style and prestige, so the Velite [a concept convertible] signals the style and direction for Buick. The first production car that will be available in a few months of course is the Buick LaCrosse, which replaces the Regal but is a significantly new car. And that's going to be the first car that's a real car, as opposed to a concept car, that illustrates the new Buick virtues of a very luxurious experience . . . wonderful leathers, nice wood, beautiful little chrome details, German-style fit and finish; very, very silent inside, sort of what I call Lexus-like silence.

What would be the design cue for Buick?

A combination of grille and very fluid lines. . . . We missed it on the LaCrosse, but all the others are going back to the Buick portholes [the gill-like, chrome-encircled rings above the front fenders just ahead of the firewalls that defined earlier Buicks] as a feature element. It will be sort of back to the future in that the six-cylinder models will have three portholes and the eight-cylinder models will have four portholes. I was opposed to the portholes but when I saw the Maserati Quattroporte stole our portholes, I said, "That's it, now portholes go back on everything."

The next version of the GTO: Any changes coming there?

It depends on what you mean by the next version. We will have an '05, which is still basically the same body but with some very significant changes which I think will surprise and please some people.

You haven't said what they are. Hood scoop?

We're not saying, but we always knew that with a car like the GTO, you can't stand still. The next generation is a few years out so it's still too early to talk about, but the GTO will be a permanent fixture with Pontiac.

What's fueling the demand for power and rear-wheel drive these days?

People have disposable income, we have now crossed over the point where front-wheel-drive cars are optimal and that point is probably around 300 horsepower and bags of torque. I think you can tune a front-wheel-drive car to where it still feels fine at 250 horsepower -- the Saab 9-5 proves that, the 9-3 proves that -- but you get into the big stuff 300-plus horsepower, then you need rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

You introduced a new Cadillac today that has an option for all-wheel drive. How important is all-wheel drive going to become across everything you do at General Motors?

I have gone full-circle. I was at Ford of Europe when we did the Sierra and Scorpio all-wheel-drive, Europe-only cars. I was convinced after the huge success of the Audi quattro. We were second with a high-performance, all-wheel-drive car. I loved driving it, it was a sensational driving experience, and I thought, "Man, this is the way of the future." And it turned out it really wasn't because the added weight and complexity robbed so much performance and fuel economy that you really kind of questioned whether it makes sense under a lot of circumstances. When I got to GM there was quite a desire to get all-wheel-drive versions [of certain models] and I looked at the bill and said we really don't need this. . . . So everybody agreed with me and we put it to sleep. In the meantime, a funny thing happened. It's really taking off in the Northeast and BMW sells 35 percent of their volume in all-wheel drive; Audi and Subaru are 100 percent. Now I had to tell the guys that may have been one of my less-good decisions. . . . We've got to double back and put it into more vehicles.

Where are small cars going to fit in? You've got the Cobalt, which says to me, small car, young driver.

Yeah, that's going to be a really slick car. This was our effort where we said, "Pull out all the stops." We are going to demonstrate to Americans and the world that the US can build a small car that's as good as any produced anywhere in the world. With this car, we truly had the vision of doing the best small car, the quietest, the most refined, the best handling, the most fun to drive, the best interior. The one thing I don't want is for the press to say, "Yeah, greatly improved over the Cavalier, but that isn't saying much. This vehicle still falls well short of the international standard for high-quality small cars such as the Volkswagen Golf, the Honda Civic." If anybody says, "Well, it's not bad, but it's still not at the level of the Japanese small cars," if that's the reaction, I frankly don't know what I'd do for my next number.

Full Article Here

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,013 Posts
Wow, they're really tight-lipped about the 05 GTO. It better surprise me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,856 Posts
Like many people on this site, I generally like Lutz and believe he has done mostly good by GM.

I also appreciate his candor, until recently a rare beast at GM. There's nothing wrong with pointing out your weaknesses. In my mind, acknowledging them is the first step to ameliorating them. As an example, I was pleasantly surpised at C.J. Fraleigh's [sic] candor in presenting the Buick Velite at the NY Auto Show. It was kinda funny to hear people gasp when he spoke about Buick's weaknesses in a very frank fashion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,519 Posts
Originally posted by Ming@Apr 25 2004, 10:09 PM


I was opposed to the portholes but when I saw the Maserati Quattroporte stole our portholes, I said, "That's it, now portholes go back on everything."

That's Lutz and GM in a nutshell, and it's the last hurdle GM faces: No genuine design leadership. Cadillac's resurgence has been great not just for the exciting product, but because it signalled that GM was ready to go out on a limb and set the standard once again. Of course, that resurgence began prior to Lutz, and with his influence, the new STS looks identical to, yet duller than, the three-year-old CTS. There goes the momentum, the progress.

"I don't want the Buick-signature portholes until I see them on something else" isn't the mark of design leadership. It's a subtle point, but it typifies the whole problem with the establishment. Design is the rubber that gets GM's great engineering and manufacturing muscle to the road. They're driving on wider meats these days, but still hard-compound bias plies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
830 Posts
Originally posted by Ming@Apr 25 2004, 05:09 PM


The next generation is a few years out so it's still too early to talk about, but the GTO will be a permanent fixture with Pontiac.
Yippee!!! :bounce:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
723 Posts
Aren't the portholes a trademark of Buick and GM. Now Maserati has them on their sedan, OH OH!!!! I see lawsuits floating in the air. Everyone remember the Hummer and Jeep grilles??
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
The GTO info is great. I think that they finaly got the GTO out, they can see what people like about the car, and use it for the next gen GTO and Camaro.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
452 Posts
I would just like to say that in terms of hp I think They missed their mark with Cobalt. With the SRT-4 out and about, Chevy cannot say they are binging out the best small car. Because in my humble opinion, if you want to bring out the best, bring out the best in every category. I guess I'm msinly erked cause they didn't put the supercharged 2.2 from the Nomad into it. Cause then we would have the best small car in the world.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
I wouldnt get too bent out of shape about the Cobalt SS. As a whole car, its a much better car then the SRT4. The SRT4's are making massive power, but GM has shown what the ecotecs can do. They have them running 1000hp and more on a stock ecotec block. A 2.2 turbo Ion Redline did 215mph at Bonneville flats and beat out the Honda Civic that did 187.
I think GM needs to use a turbo 2.2 motor from the 9-3, not a supercharged 2.0. The Cobalt and Ion give up .4 liters to the SRT4. With the forged bottom end, and power adder, power will be easy to build up in this car for cheap. Figure 1k in mods, and you could have this into the low 13's. I dont think that GM missed at all with the SS. It might not be the #1 fastest, but it could take a very close #2 right now. No one else comes close really.

What I did find interesting is how Lutz talked about how the limit for FWD hp is 300hp. He said unless you are going RWD or AWD, it would be hard to handle all that power.... so I ask you, that 320hp 5.3 V8 GP GXP... anyone think that this is a little hidden message?

B)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Consider that this is the first year of the Cobalt lineup, and that the Cavalier was around for 20+ years.

Also - how long was the Neon out before getting the hot rod treatment like this?

I expect more to come from the Cobalt as time goes by. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later, though --- I don't want to see THIS platform around until 2024... :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
What about the Camaro.?............Is Lutz asleep or did he forget that the Corvette and Camaro are the flag bearers for GM. Someone has to shove their *** off zero and get going on a new Camaro..........NOW!!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,085 Posts
Originally posted by samy1691@Apr 26 2004, 10:30 AM
What about the Camaro.?............Is Lutz asleep or did he forget that the Corvette and Camaro are the flag bearers for GM. Someone has to shove their *** off zero and get going on a new Camaro..........NOW!!!!!
I believe he's said there's one in development. Personally I'd rather they get it right than rush to production and have major issues that bury it. Hang in there, it's coming!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,471 Posts
Originally posted by desmo9+Apr 25 2004, 11:44 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (desmo9 @ Apr 25 2004, 11:44 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Ming@Apr 25 2004, 10:09 PM


I was opposed to the portholes but when I saw the Maserati Quattroporte stole our portholes, I said, "That's it, now portholes go back on everything." 

That's Lutz and GM in a nutshell, and it's the last hurdle GM faces: No genuine design leadership. Cadillac's resurgence has been great not just for the exciting product, but because it signalled that GM was ready to go out on a limb and set the standard once again. Of course, that resurgence began prior to Lutz, and with his influence, the new STS looks identical to, yet duller than, the three-year-old CTS. There goes the momentum, the progress.

"I don't want the Buick-signature portholes until I see them on something else" isn't the mark of design leadership. It's a subtle point, but it typifies the whole problem with the establishment. Design is the rubber that gets GM's great engineering and manufacturing muscle to the road. They're driving on wider meats these days, but still hard-compound bias plies. [/b][/quote]
I'm glad someone else sees it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
I was opposed to the portholes but when I saw the Maserati Quattroporte stole our portholes, I said, "That's it, now portholes go back on everything."
I don't really care about stealing portholes and all but, now you decide to go back to portholes? After Maserati had developed a luxury-rich full-size luxury sedan with portholes. Why go back, if it didn't work in the first place? Why does American vehicles have to have all these special signature features on a car? What: People back then were stupid enough to call a Buick a Ford when the big Buick sign was sitting on the front and back of the car....Why the Jeep 7-scope thing. Why Mercury's stupid branding thing. Why Chevrolet's bowtie? Why Pontiac's two-thing grille? We don't need it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
954 Posts
Originally posted by gmwsag@Apr 26 2004, 12:51 PM
I was opposed to the portholes but when I saw the Maserati Quattroporte stole our portholes, I said, "That's it, now portholes go back on everything."
I don't really care about stealing portholes and all but, now you decide to go back to portholes? After Maserati had developed a luxury-rich full-size luxury sedan with portholes. Why go back, if it didn't work in the first place? Why does American vehicles have to have all these special signature features on a car? What: People back then were stupid enough to call a Buick a Ford when the big Buick sign was sitting on the front and back of the car....Why the Jeep 7-scope thing. Why Mercury's stupid branding thing. Why Chevrolet's bowtie? Why Pontiac's two-thing grille? We don't need it!
Without these styling traits all of todays cars would be as borring as Camry's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
Originally posted by Ming@Apr 25 2004, 05:09 PM
What would be the design cue for Buick?

A combination of grille and very fluid lines. . . . We missed it on the LaCrosse, but all the others are going back to the Buick portholes [the gill-like, chrome-encircled rings above the front fenders just ahead of the firewalls that defined earlier Buicks] as a feature element. It will be sort of back to the future in that the six-cylinder models will have three portholes and the eight-cylinder models will have four portholes. I was opposed to the portholes but when I saw the Maserati Quattroporte stole our portholes, I said, "That's it, now portholes go back on everything."

that mean the Terraza gets port holes?? lol
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top