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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Car Guys vs Bean Counters" by Bob Lutz

My Bob Lutz Encounter (by Ralph Paglia):

I am in the process of reading Bob Lutz's latest book titled "Car Guys vs Bean Counters" which is a thoroughly enjoyable read for car guys... Bean counters should probably spare themselves the anguish of reading this book. Anyways, reading Lutz's book is not only entertaining and informative, but also keeps causing me to flash back to my experience encountering Bob Lutz in person.

I had been invited to the Google "ThinkAuto" symposium at Google's Birmingham, MI offices in the Spring of 2009. I remember it being a spectacular Michigan Spring day in late April... Several noted speakers were slated for the day's sessions. The auto industry was in a full tailspin at the time, suffering from the economic meltdown that characterized the depths of the Great Recession.

Bob Lutz was one of several remarkable speakers that day, and I was sitting in the front row. Like many before me, I was enthralled and charmed by Lutz's brash style. His speaking style was striking in that he emphasized the painfully obvious factors that far too many automotive executives ignore as part of their pathological ongoing state of denial.

I took many notes and even asked a question at the end of Lutz's presentation... Which his answer delighted and intrigued the crowd of about 50 automotive notables present.

Later on during the Google Cocktail reception, I was able to shake Bob's hand and introduce myself. I took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Bob while we both enjoyed Google's hospitality.

Among several conversational questions, I asked the soon to be retiring GM Executive if there was any possibility of GM seeking federal bankruptcy reorganization in the future... Bob's response was classic Lutzism, he said something like;

"...Possibility?!?! A GM bankruptcy filing is an inevitability... It is not a question of whether or not GM will file for Bankruptcy reorganization, the only real question is WHEN!"

I was blown away at the time by Lutz's candor and the sheer charisma the man exudes... I knew right then and there that I had met one of my all time automotive heroes. Reading "Car Guys vs Bean Counters" has reaffirmed my opinion that Bob Lutz is one of the greatest car guys ever produced by the American auto industry.

If you work in the car business, buy "Car Guys vs Bean Counters" and read it... You'll be glad you did!

My favorite Bob Lutz quote number 29 from Car Guys vs Bean Counters:

"...a senior executive who needs a quantified list of objectives to know what he or she should be working on should not be a senior executive in the first place."

Bob Lutz on J. D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Studies...

Touting a vehicle's J. D. Power and Associate high ranking for freedom from defects in its class is like advertising your Italian restaurant as delivering the lowest incidence of food poisoning among all Italian restaurants in the area. 

Bob Lutz describes the Quasimodo of Crossovers...

My favorite Bob Lutz quote number 7 from Car Guys vs Bean Counters:

"...Into this climate of false pity GM proudly launched the Pontiac Aztek, a minivan-based vehicle designed for a niche somewhere in the U.S. market. Since it was often displayed with a large tent deployed from the back end, one can only assume it was created for people who go camping regularly or who otherwise have no permanent dwelling. It was atrociously ugly, with featureless, flat body panels offset in front by what appeared to be one lower and one upper grill opening. I remember staring at it in disbelief the first time I saw it: I could not imagine that a group of professional automobile designers and executives had green-lighted this Quasimodo of crossovers." -- Bob Lutz "Car Guys vs Bean Counters"

Ralph Paglia
cell: 505-301-6369

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