GM's Lutz Charged Up on Volt Electric Car

Forbes magazine talks to GM's Vice-Chairman about the new the company's new electric concept car.

Published: 12-Jan-2007

Bob Lutz, General Motors' vice chairman of global product development, is known for his frank perspective on what the company has done — both good and bad — as well as what it needs to do in order to be successful. Lutz sat down with a small group of journalists for an extended roundtable discussion at the Detroit auto show. Here he weighs in on the Chevrolet Volt electric car concept and other alternative-fuel technology:

ForbesAutos.com: You mentioned in the press conference that the Volt excites you the most of any project you've worked on. Why?

Bob Lutz: Because my whole career I've liked to do the contrarian thing at a certain stage of a company's life. When the whole world was saying Chrysler was going out of business, that we had lost the ability to do anything besides the K Car and couldn't do a rear-wheel-drive car, I said, "Why don't we not only do a RWD car, but the most powerful and most expensive American RWD car ever?" — which became the Viper. The Pontiac Solstice was the same thing. Who thought GM could come up with such a great-looking convertible at such a low price? The Volt is another in that series. It's a radical departure for GM, and it's exciting because it's not a sure thing — there's a possibility of failure here. I'd put the risk rate at 10 percent. It'll keep me around for another three or four years, just to see how it turns out.

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