Lutz Loses Cadillac CTS Challenge, May Win Buyers

October 30th, 2009

GM's Bob Lutz in the challenge Cadillac CTS-VIn a shrewd marketing ploy, Maximum Bob Lutz, GM’s noisy vice chairman, challenged all comers (driving comparable four-door sedans) to beat him in a race at the Monticello track in the Catskills. The race was yesterday, and Lutz came in seventh, behind a bunch of other CTS-Vs (driven by GM engineers and a couple of professional drivers) and a BMW M3, driven by a young whipper-snapper (as Lutz later termed his competitors), Michael Cooper.

The event was cooked up to attract auto journalists, and Jalopnik responded first, with an entry of a Jaguar XF R, later to be withdrawn owing to brake concerns. Driver Wes Siler entered a Mitsubishi EVO instead, and came in eighth. The Truth About Cars entered a CTS-V driven by Jack Baruth, which came in fifth.

Now, from one mid-70s guy to another, let me say congratulations to the man who was not only a good loser but a good driver. We all know how badly older people can drive, but here’s a guy who’s not only kept his skills, but shown the world how to get ink for a great product. Everybody from The New York Times to Facebook has been in on this story.

Cadillac recently fired its ad agency—the one that produced spots featuring a sexy lady driving a red CTS and asking, “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?” Lutz says stunts like his challenge are lots cheaper and more effective in attracting buyers. What do you think?

—jgoods

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  1. randy
    November 1st, 2009 at 18:48 | #1

    Bob Lutz is among GM’s worst liabilities. Look at the CTS-V. As high-end production performance cars go, it’s had a lot of development. So what? Will GM sell SEVERAL MILLION CTS-V’s?? Will they even sell 30,000?

    GM CAN NOT BE SUCCESSFUL SELLING CTS-V’s, Volts, Camaros, ZR’s and other niche vehicles. What this promotion showed is Bob’s “big balls” syndrome which was meant to appeal to other men with similar masculinity problems.

    If you want to be successful selling cars, you need to speak to women at least as much (and likely more) than men. That’s one big reason Japanese companies like Honda and Toyota are kicking Bob’s big macho butt.

  2. Oscar
    October 31st, 2009 at 07:18 | #2

    I think Bob Lutz’s behavior and interests prove he’s definitely a 20th century man. Who cares for a car’s top speed today, frankly? It’s a pointless concern in our world and I’m sure it’s pointless for most potential buyers as well.

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