When General Motors’ CEO Rick Wagoner submitted his company’s plan to Congress last week, it pledged “a dramatic shift in the company’s U.S. portfolio” toward “more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers” and “extensive investment in a wide array of advanced propulsion technologies.” Testifying before Congress, Wagoner said that one of GM’s “mistakes” had been “not moving fast enough to invest in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles for the U.S. market.”
However, today GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz was singing a very different tune. On Fox and Friends this morning, Lutz insisted that Americans still want large SUVs and that small vehicles are a bad investment:
LUTZ: Let me just get one thing straight here: There’s a lot of talk about well, General Motors doesn’t make the right kind of cars or General Motors built trucks too long. At $1.50 per gallon, the American public wants sport utilities and large pickup trucks.
BRIAN KILMEADE: They did.
LUTZ: No, they do now. … Look at automotive news and see that the Honda Civic in may sold 57,000 units, in November it was down to 7,000. Same numbers for the Toyota Corolla. The small cars are not selling at $1.50 a gallon.
GRETCHEN CARLSON: And why this issue’s so complicated is that people want to buy trucks and SUVs potentially but they can’t get the credit.
LUTZ: That’s exactly right.
Wagoner pledged an “increased commitment” to alternative fuel-driven cars; the bailout money he requests requires that auto companies drop their lawsuits against states seeking tougher emissions standards. If Wagoner is sincere in believing that fuel-efficient cars are the way forward for GM — and if he wants the bailout money — then he should fire Lutz. After all, Lutz is a notorious global warming denier, calling climate change “a total crock of sh*t.” He publicly mocked GM’s new electric car as weak and unattractive, and joked that global warming was caused by toaster ovens.
Lutz may be pro-actively lobbying to keep his job. Yesterday, he told CNBC that Wagoner “is without doubt the best CEO I’ve ever worked for. … He has made enormous transformations at General Motors in his tenure.”
,Climate Progress is also advocating the firing of Lutz.