Bob Lutz, who has held top positions at BMW, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, likely never made his way to CEO due to his downright blunt attitude. However, that made him a perfect fit for the roles he did serve in, though.
As GM’s vice chairman during the end of the 00s, Lutz is credited with injecting life and much-needed quality control back into GM products, while paving the way for the first-generation Chevrolet Volt. He sat down with The LA Times to discuss a wide range of topics, touching on Tesla, emission standards, politics and what will become of enthusiasts in the future.
Lutz keeps pace on Tesla, a favorite topic of his, stating the company continues to bleed cash and offers up nothing other automakers don’t already possess. While he commends Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, for what he has achieved, Lutz isn’t bullish on Tesla in general.
“Every carmaker on the planet has electric vehicles in the works with a 200-300-mile range. Raising capital is not going to help, because fundamentally the business equation on electric cars is wrong. They cost more to build than what the public is willing to pay. That’s the bottom line.”
On that note, when asked what it will take for consumers to move into more electric vehicles, Lutz shifts to infrastructure and politics.
“I’m a longtime proponent of federal taxation on motor fuels, and the time to do it is now, when gas prices are low. You put 25 cents on and there’s a big hue and cry, but by the time the midterm elections roll around it’s forgotten. I’d dedicate the 25 cents a gallon to infrastructure.”
“Trump is quite right. Our infrastructure is in a parlous state. Where’s the money going to come from?”
Lutz also reveals he cast his vote for our current commander in chief, but offered up some advice for number 45 in the process, too.
“It would have been nice to have a conservative president who is more unifying and more careful about what he says. My concern with Trump’s constant tweets, he’s very often at odds with what his Cabinet members say. If I had any influence over him, which I don’t, I would strongly encourage him to stop that, especially the angry tweets. Let’s face it, it’s juvenile. What is he, 71 or 72? You’d think he’d have developed a thicker skin.”
Lutz, to end the conversation, also reaffirms his stance on the future of cars and their enthusiasts, painting a future where drivers will be barred to private race tracks to keep manually-driven vehicles off of public roads.
“Those will be nice because they’ll be unfettered by regulations, since they’re not on public highways, and they will be the equivalent of riding stables and dude ranches now.”