Lutz vows to change attitudes about GM

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lutz vows to change attitudes about GM

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — General Motors Co.’s vice chairman Bob Lutz — who canceled his retirement in order to stay on with the automaker — says his job is to change people’s minds.

"My job is to integrate GM’s marketing and communications activities to create messages that are clear enough and compelling enough to break down what I call the ‘perception gap,’ " Lutz told The Detroit News late today. "GM today has the best product portfolio in its history. It’s the first time we can truly say ‘Compare our new vehicles to those of any other large producer, regardless of national origin.’ "

Lutz has long been frustrated that the Detroit automaker doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

"We win award after award, receive accolade after accolade from the industry journalists. And yet, the perception among a disturbing percentage of Americans is that we are still the producers of less-than-excellent, undesirable vehicles. My job is to close the perception gap," Lutz said.

Company officials have pointed to internal focus groups that show people have more favorable ratings of GM vehicles if they have no badge — or if they have a Toyota Motor Corp. badge — as evidence that perceptions lag the quality improvements of GM vehicles.

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