Bob Lutz on retirement, Saab

The Detroit News have been talking with GM’s Car Czar, Bob Lutz, and it seems he’s covered a number of topics with them.

1. Retirement.

Bob Lutz is 75 years old at the moment, and apart from the odd “grey moment” he holds up very well indeed. I used to be quite critical but I guess I’m mellowing with time.

The next few years will see what many regard as a design-led revolution at GM. How much of it is attributable to Lutz is known best to the people on the inside, but the fact that it’ll happen in the twilight of his career is probably more than just coincidence.

Lutz has told the Detroit News that he will most likely retire after the introduction of the GM plug-in electric car inspired by the Chevy Volt concept. This is scheduled for 2010, pending the required technological developments.

That’ll put Bob at 78 years of age and at the end of a career I’d imagine he’ll be pretty happy with.


2. Saab

Bob went on record saying that Saab will most likely have a tough first half of the year in 2008, primarily because of the economic situation in the US.

“We’re either going to have to cut prices or we may just lose those sales.” A slow start to 2008 would make it tougher for Saab to prevent a third straight year of declining U.S. sales

Saab are already doing it pretty tough in the US and it seems the introduction of the 2008 Saab 9-3 has done little more than stem the sales losses. I’ve had a few comments from dealers in the US to that effect and the sales numbers for the last few months bear it out.

I think the other thing that’s going to make for slow sales is the late introduction of the XWD system, which won’t come until Spring 2008 or thereabouts.

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  1. It doesn’t help them that the new 9-5 is soooooo late….

    I wonder if they would consider making them in the US, as some of the other Euro marques are doing.

    Does anyone know how well the 9-7Xs (made in Moraine Ohio) stack up against the Scandinavian Saabs in build quality?

  2. 1. retirement: he started late–didn’t graduate high school until in his 20’s–so retiring late seems “par.”

    2. saab: i can’t wait to see what the pre-xwd deals will be, if any.

  3. Good product with bad timing. The new 9-3 should really be a hit, but alas, the market is down…not a lot of people know it exists, and xwd wasn’t available from the start.
    Every XWD review out there talks about how it is the next best thing…it should have been here from the start.

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