Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus, and GM CEOs are from Another Universe

Wow!  How far out of touch with reality can you be?

General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said he is looking forward to having a "car czar" in place so U.S. automakers have someone sympathetic to its needs in Washington.

"We will have someone to talk to about the pain being inflicted on use [sic] for no unearthly [sic] reason," Lutz said Sunday on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show.

Via the Libery Papers


  1. Gil:

    I guess he's completely given up on trying to make money the old fashioned way.

  2. stan:

    I would imagine Washington bureaucrats in the Car Czar office will be like they are around the world. They will likely be "captured" by some special interest. Often, regulators get captured by the businesses they are supposed to regulate. I don't think it ridiculous to think that the Car Czar might end up working hard to keep the car companies in business so as to keep him and his staff working.

  3. Jeff:

    Whatever it takes to keep the Big 3 operating as usual. They'll suffer any regulation to avoid making tough decisions or be held accountable for their failures.

    Besides, with a Car Czar, they can blame all the problems on the government while still collecting bonus checks.

  4. morganovich:

    the element you leave out of this equation is lobbying largess. the big three will shower said "car czar" with trips, conferences, money, hookers, whatever, until they brainwash/buy him and then BINGO. sympathetic washington. this is their dream. one guy on whom to focus their lobbying. congress has too many members and the president is too busy/expensive, but a car czar, that's just about right. now they will push to have the powers of the czar expanded and try to get him out from under any oversight.

  5. Tim:

    Here's more of the quote:

    "I have to hope it leads to a competitive energy and transportation policy."

    He said when auto executives have met with people in Washington - either in Congress or the White House - the talks have been "highly politicized."


    Lutz said planning for future vehicles, particularly whether to focus on small cars, hybrids or trucks, is difficult given continued spikes and falls in gasoline prices.

    Here's the background. A new vehicle, from plan to start of production, takes around 3 years. When Bob talks about "Pain being inflicted", he's referring to the laundry list of incompatible regulations and requirements that are imposed by the political process, and not the reality of engineering and physics.

    A competitive transportation and energy policy would rationally put the onus for efficency and safety requirements on the demand side, not the supply side. It would also take into account what can be done, and when.

  6. K:

    Lutz is very outspoken and fearless. But he is not a very reliable source except when speaking of his specific tasks at GM. When he strays onto wider subjects he tends to just say what comes to mind at the moment.

    I hav always assumed he is very competent on the job; he has held high level jobs in the industry for decades. But he doesn't run GM, he works there.

  7. boqueronman:

    Government programs may, initially, begin with focus on the resolution of the "problem" which led to their creation. However, very soon the idealism bleeds out of the organization and its goals concentrate on long term viability and achieving increases in staff and budget. Take the Dept. of Energy (please!). The 1970s saw two oil price shocks which produced a feeling in the general public that "foreign interests" were dictating the terms for U.S. energy production. One of the consequences was the creation of DOE. If anyone remembers, the original mission of this organization was to lead the nation to energy independence. Well, how has that gone? Since 1980 imports as a percentage of total petroleum supply has doubled from 35% to 70%. Good job, guys. And all that accomplished to the tune of $25B/yr and 116,000 direct and contract employees. By the time the Car Czar gets through I suggest you all have thick soles on your feet because we'll all be driving around in Fred Flintstone cars.

  8. Dick Monahan:

    The problems of the auto manufacturers will not be solved until the entire management chart is filled with "car guys". I.e., persons who, for whatever reasons, want to make their livings building automobiles. Every lawyer, bean counter, real estate person, etc. who is occupying one of the management slots is reducing the odds that the operation will succeed.

    This is true of all of our other failing industries, too.

  9. bbartlog:

    I hav always assumed he is very competent on the job

    Have you looked at any of GM's financial statements for the past, oh, five years or so? You are simply assuming he is competent on the basis of the position he holds rather than considering the mountain of evidence that he is, in fact, a grossly overpaid boob. BTW the quote makes him sound ... medicated, which would be no surprise to me given his situation.

  10. K:


    The reason I assume he is very competent is the positions he has held. And also my tendency to not decide otherwise without good evidence.

    Lutz did not cause the losses at GM. He is primarily a development and production guy who also provides good press stories, often at auto shows. He may be a whiz behind the scenes but I can't know and don't say.

    My guess: he is good in his limited domain so his erratic, off-the-cuff, interviews are tolerated. In the corporate world execs can be eccentric if they produce, else not.

  11. TDK:

    Atlas Shrugged coming to an industry near you soon.

  12. Michigan man:

    Lutz also wants Congress to jack up the gas tax to a level where the $40,000 electric experiment will be a deal for the average car buyer. No wonder GM is tanking the top dogs don't understand the market.