Lutz talks about Toyota’s

Posted: 3:36 p.m. Feb. 12, 2010

Lutz talks about Toyota’s
woes — very carefully

By TIM HIGGINS
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

ORLANDO – General Motors Vice Chairman Bob
Lutz had one piece of advice for
Toyota
executives who are being called before Congress
over the Japanese automaker’s recalls tied to
unintended acceleration.

“Be prepared for an unpleasant experience,” he
said today on the sidelines of the J.D. Power and
Associates
2010 Automotive Roundtable.
The forum is being held in advance of the
National
Automobile Dealers Association annual
convention.
Lutz, who spoke at the roundtable event, tried to
avoid talking about competitor Toyota.
“We’ve been carefully briefed to stay away from
any pronouncements about our No. 1 Japanese
competitor. Sorry about that. See me privately,”
he said to the audience, which erupted in
laughter.
Instead, Lutz focused his speech on GM’s
improved position. A year ago, the Detroit
automaker was struggling to stay afloat on
government assistance. GM eventually went
through government-backed bankruptcy
reorganization.
Lutz highlighted the improved vehicles GM is
making, and the high consumer demand for
recently launched GM vehicles, such as the
 
Chevrolet Equinox
crossover.
Lutz told the Free Press in an interview that he
doesn’t want people to think GM’s new success
has anything to do with Toyota’s stumble.
“The huge rise in purchase intent for all of our
new stuff really started in September,” he said.
“One of my worries is that people are going to
say, ‘Hey look how well GM is doing — this
couldn’t have happened without the Toyota
(recalls).’ That demeans our accomplishments.”
During a question-and-answer session at the
roundtable event, Lutz also surprisingly
suggested that golfer Tiger Woods did not help
Buick sell any vehicles when he starred in the
brand’s commercials.
Buick’s relationship with Woods, who was the
face of the brand for nine years, ended in 2008,
prior to Woods’ recent troubles. Woods has been
in the news after he crashed his Cadillac at his
Orlando home last November and his marital
problems came to light.
At the time GM’s relationship with Woods ended,
the automaker explained that it needed to save
money and Woods needed more personal time.
“We never got much value out of him,” Lutz said.
He later told reporters that GM could be partly to
blame for not having Woods say the right things.
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