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Michael said:
Wow, someone had a bitter dinner...
True, it does have a bitter ring to it, but there is truth there. Bob has done a great job with the Kappas, but the bread and butter cars, sedans and wagons, have a long way to go before they turn heads. I think his approach in improving quality first is a very good move, but from now on, every new launch should shoot for a "lucky hit" like the 300c, regardless of the vehicle's intended purpose and price point. Good styling costs the same as bland. What this reviewer left out is, with the exception of a very few models offered, the competition is offering the same sort of milk toast. I guess it's easier to focus on the negitive rather than the positive.
 

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I've seen this criticism of Bob Lutz all over the net over the past 6 months to a year. He hasn't worked the styling magic everyone expected.

There is a good reason. He hasn't been there long enough. The Kappa cars are really the first all new from the ground up vehicles developed under Lutz.

Lutz did order the STS, G6, and LaCrosse pushed back a year to revise styling, and he did get in intime to make some minor changes to the current Grand Prix, but weven with holding the STS, G6, and LaCrosse a year, there is only so much that can be changed. He had his designers spice them up as best they could on a limited time, and without being able to completely scrap the designs that had already been started. I believe the G6 changes were mostly interior, the STS and LaCrosse had some exterior changes. It also took him some time to change the culture at GM that has really freed up their designers to take some risks. That didn't just happen the day he walked in the door.

Regardless, I do not see how anyone can make a verdict when GM's all new cars really haven't hit the streets yet. I'd judge Bob Lutz over the next 3 years. The Kappa cars, the new Zeta based cars (upcoming GTO, Camaro, Velite, etc) and the Grand Prix, Impala, Monte Carlo, and LaCrosse replacements. Those will be the cars that really test his influence on GM.

Regardless of the hint of sour grapes, it is an interesting piece!
 

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I think for some time now GM has shown its designers a beautiful sky but given them no wings. Management seemed to take wonderful designs and almost neuter them in an effort to please too many. I think Mr. Lutz will change that. At least I hope so. No reorganization is painless, but I look forward to seeing GM once again do some wonderful things. AND give us some beautiful interiors again that are well thought out with good materials and the quality of workmanship that implies it's maker was proud to manufacture it.
 

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There is the "in between road" (for you Zen practitioners) that seems to be very difficult for designers to walk. It's like the artist/designer wants "all or nothing".

The result, in a culture like GM, with the organizational inertia present, is a multi-year design cycle between bland and bold.

On the down cycle, you get bland toaster-boxes and Azteks, where the designer gives up entirely and then gets to blame the engineers for clipping their wings. Then you start to get bold, like the SSR, Solstice, Sky - and get basically great "eye-grabbing" designs that may be shackled with some of the more "artsy-fartsy" parts (like the AFBTS's on the top - appear to be non-functional design features, or a non-existent trunk) in this "all or nothing" thinking. It's where the designer gets 90% of what he or she wants, and then argues it all falls apart if they don't get "those 18" wheels" or "these parts of the top" or who-knows-what surprises are yet to come on kappa.

I think the Solstice and the Sky are close to the middle ground - and I'm amazed that the under-skin stuff seems to be so decent - but I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. 'Cause most of what is designed is great artwork, but rather impractical as a desirable transportation device - a sort of visual sleight-of-hand. Kinda like some of F.L.Wright's houses - beautiful, but not always structurally sound (like Fallingwater) or weathertight (like Taliesin West).
 

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I remember reading a Lutz quote when he took over at GM regarding the Aztek. He said that the direction GM had given the designers was essentially to tell them to put a wrapper on the outside of their pre-determined interior specifications. To achieve those specs, you got the basic Aztek shape. The best part, he said as they were developing the design, he would have thought somewhere along the line someone would have said “hey, stop!” before it reached showrooms! :glol

It takes time to convince management to not just put any old wrapper on their cars, but to allow the designers to be artistic again. Then, you also have to convince the designers that they can truly be artistic in that new environment.
 
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