Lutz has questioned the existence of global warming and does not appear quite ready to cut back on his own carbon footprint with two fighter jets, a helicopter, and a stable full of sports cars, including the second Viper ever produced in his stable.
Micheline Maynard - New York Times - May 27, 2007
General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz, known for his love of muscle cars, with the Chevrolet Volt electric concept car.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Robert A. Lutz, vice chairman at General Motors, has long been considered one of Detroit's ultimate "car guys," for whom no vehicle could be big enough, powerful enough, or fast enough.
He is the father of the V-10 Dodge Viper and has championed automobiles like the 1,000-horsepower Cadillac Sixteen, a V-16 concept coupe that Lutz said would have fulfilled his longstanding goal of designing a high-powered car to match the finest European models.
Now Lutz, known by his "Maximum Bob" nickname around Detroit, says he has a new dream car.
Speaking at a taping of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!," the quiz program on National Public Radio, Lutz declared recently that the Chevrolet Volt, the hybrid-electric concept car that GM unveiled at this year's Detroit auto show, may be among the most important vehicles that GM has ever developed.
"This is now what I'm more excited about than I was about the Dodge Viper," Lutz said. "I think this can bring about the revolution and really make us independent of foreign oil and solve all the other problems."
With the same enthusiasm that he has long used to describe high torque ratings and engine displacements, Lutz touted the Volt's mileage, which he estimated will reach 151 miles per gallon, fueled by a combination of electricity and gasoline.
His comments drew a huge round of applause from the NPR audience at the Michigan Theater here.
The prospect of Lutz going green represents a sharp reversal. After all, he has often mocked environmentalists, saying that except for "a few nuts in California," no one cared about the impact of cars on the environment.
In 2003, he described Toyota's hybrid-electric Prius as a public relations stunt -- although he admitted he wished GM had a similar model -- and declared GM's most important car to be the Chevrolet Corvette … [Read More]