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Auto blogMon, 20 Jun 2011 19:57:00 EST
Bob Lutz sits down for Autoline Detroit - Click above to watch video after the jump
Autoline Detroit recently played host to Bob Lutz, and, as is always the case, the former General Motors vice chairman dished out some great commentary. Lutz was promoting his new book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, and talk quickly turned to his role as it related to product development and high-level decision making at GM. While on the topic of brand management, Lutz revealed a few rather interesting tidbits about his former employer:
All Chevrolet vehicles were required to have five-spoke aluminum wheels and a chrome band up front, as part of the Bowtie brand's overall image.
Well, this is awkward.
A few years ago, Audi Of America's boss Johan de Nysschen went on record describing the Chevrolet Volt as "a car for idiots." Fast-forward to earlier this summer, and the well-regarded executive suddenly found himself in a new office with new business cards bearing the title: President, Cadillac. That means that among other challenges, de Nysschen is now tasked with selling the ELR, a car that is, at its core, a Volt in a sportier, less utile frock wearing a price tag that's twice as expensive.
Frankly, it's not a prospect we imagine the South African executive and recent Infiniti boss relishes. Just about nobody is buying the ELR - Cadillac has sold but 774 examples of its plug-in hybrid coupe this year and it presently has an almost a 200-day supply according to Automotive News. What's more, those numbers actually represent big improvements over just a few months ago, before GM started heaping on the incentives. The cynic in us says that the bad news for De Nysschen is that he's got a borderline sales-proof car in his new corporate garage. The good news? Cadillac customers apparently aren't idiots.
Cadillac continues to hemorrhage executives, as it's just seen its fourth high-level departure in the past year. Vice President of Global Strategic Development Don Butler (who defected to Ford) and European President and Managing Director Susan Docherty both left the company of their own volition, while Chase Hawkins, Cadillac's vice president of sales and service, was fired following a "violation of policy" in July of 2013. Strangely, it's Hawkins' replacement, Bill Peffer (shown above), who has handed in his papers this time around.
"Bill left to pursue other interests. Kurt McNeil replaces him, effective immediately," spokesman David Caldwell told Autoblog via email.
McNeil last held the VP of sales and service position back in 2012. He's currently the vice president of US sales for all of General Motors. According to The Detroit News, McNeil will take on the post in what is likely an interim capacity.