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Lutz on Letterman: “Stupid Human Trick”

Posted in auto industry, Cars, General, GM, Hybrid Technologies, Newsworthy, Tesla by Nathan Redden | May 5th, 2009 | Leave a Reply |


In case you missed Elon Musk’s appearance on Letterman, it was a total ignorance-fest. That’s not to say Tesla isn’t allowed to bash the competition, but c’mon Elon. Don’t turn a blind eye to misinformation. Luckily, Maximum Bob Lutz and his blog are there to make some corrections and issue the friendliest middle-finger ever. Read Bob’s response after the jump.

By Bob Lutz
GM Vice Chairman

I don’t know if you happened to catch David Letterman Wednesday night. Frankly, I didn’t, nor did many of my colleagues at GM. But you can bet the clip of Dave interviewing Elon Musk of Tesla Motors has certainly made the rounds here, and has people up in arms, particularly the Chevrolet Volt team.

Mr. Letterman made some gratuitously derogatory remarks about the Volt’s range, calling it “insane” and “ridiculous,” and in general appeared woefully uninformed about the Volt. For one thing, he said its 40-mile range wouldn’t get him down the driveway to pick up the newspaper.

Now, if he is that uninformed, I must point out that it’s not his fault, it’s ours. We should do a better job of making sure that Dave and everyone else who is in position to comment on national TV about our products has the right information, whether they use that information or not. Perhaps if we’d hired Drew Barrymore to be the spokesperson for the vehicle we’d have commanded more of his attention. Regardless, we’d like to rectify the situation.

I would like to personally invite Dave to come learn more about the Volt, including the hugely important but unmentioned-by-him fact that its range is 40 purely electric miles plus several hundred more miles thanks to its range-extender. Dave may drive more than 40 miles a day on his commute from the palatial Connecticut estate, but about 80 percent of Americans don’t. And those people could conceivably drive the Volt every day and never use a drop of gasoline.

I’d like Dave to drive a Volt test mule and see for himself. And I’d be happy to appear on his show, like Mr. Musk had the opportunity to do, and set the record straight on the Volt and its promise. If it happens to be Stupid Pet Tricks night, I have a swan that would be a hit!

Let me say one more thing: If I were to compile a Top Ten List of things General Motors needs to worry about at this moment in time, rebuking comments by David Letterman would not be among them, as you might guess. But that doesn’t mean we can sit idly by while misinformation spreads, especially when it’s disseminated by a respected “car guy.” That really got us, if you will, charged up.

So that’s why we’re taking a moment on a Friday to let you know we heard what was said, we don’t agree with it, and we’d like the opportunity to put things right. Simple as that.

[GM Fastlane Blog]

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