Bob Lutz Takes Over As Chairman At VIA Motors

4 years ago by Jay Cole 36

Meet A Familiar Face Now In Charge Of Via's Board

Meet A Familiar Face Now In Charge Of Via’s Board

Times are changing fast at VIA Motors.

Bob Lutz Is Also The "L" In VL Automotive Who Converts Plug-In Fisker Karmas Into Corvette Powered Destinos

Bob Lutz Is Also The “L” In VL Automotive Who Converts Plug-In Fisker Karmas Into Corvette Powered Destinos

With production recently underway on VIA’s extended range products in Mexico, a new President installed just two months ago, VIA has now appointed a new Chairman of the Board.

…none other than Bob Lutz – who just celebrated his 82nd birthday on the 12th of this month.

“VIA is fortunate to have the experience of one of the industry’s foremost executives leading our board,” said John Weber, VIA Motors, CE) in a company statement on the occasion. 

Mr. Lutz brings with him a passion for the evolution of the automobile, and decades of experience from his tenure in top executive positions at each of the world’s leading auto companies, noted Weber.

Now known widely for his comments about “electrifying the wrong end of the business” with the Chevy Volt (such as here, and here), Bob sticks to his new mantra while commenting on his new job overseeing the electrification of large platform work-horses at VIA:

“I believe VIA is electrifying the right end of the business and is implementing a very sound business strategy. If we are going to see main stream adoption of electric vehicles, the technology must deliver a good return on investment to the largest segment of the auto business, namely trucks, vans & SUVs. That’s why I am so confident in VIA and I’m pleased to serve as Chairman.”

Lutz is replacing retiring chairman Carl Berg, who has been Chairman since VIA’s launch in 2009. Of interest: Berg is also VIA’s largest shareholder.

Earlier video (below) introducing VIA’s Mexico production facility:

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36 responses to "Bob Lutz Takes Over As Chairman At VIA Motors"

  1. David Murray says:

    Sad that GM can’t provide them trucks that don’t already have engines and all of that stuff that Via will be removing.

    1. Dan Frederiksen says:

      Sad that VIA exists

      1. scottf200 says:

        What a strange and consistently negative comment. Small company innovation drives bigger things. These maybe some of my favorite EVs for what their potential is. I don’t need one but many do.

        1. Dan Frederiksen says:

          Noone needs these idiotic vehicles. That’s why we don’t have any of those types in Europe. And certainly not at those clueless prices.

        1. Steve T says:

          Great article. It’s good to know what goes on in the minds of people such as Dan. This appears to be a direct hit.

        2. Dan Frederiksen says:

          Aaron, I’m not a troll. Ironically you are. Not that you have the mind to realize it.

          1. offib says:

            I’m sorry, Dan, but you may want to read over your comments. They come off as snappy, rude and undermining. Certainly far softer than the typical troll.

      2. David Murray says:

        I’m going to assume you mean it is sad they exist because GM should have been doing this all along, which would make VIA irrelevant.

        1. Dan Frederiksen says:

          ***MOD EDIT***

          Too far. Please consider what you are posting and how you are saying it, our job is not to monitor your comments for excessive reactions and personal slanders. This will be your last warning.

          UPDATE: This commenter has been removed from future conversations at InsideEVs

          ***MOD EDIT***

          1. taser54 says:

            Your mothership is calling.

          2. Rick Danger says:

            Dan jumped his rails again…..

    2. scottf200 says:

      Imagine the regulations of letting a vehicle out of the factory like that. I’m sure the parts are sold back. The Via refactoring/manufacturing plant is near where GM builds these trucks. Lot and lots of coordination going on here.

      1. scottf200 says:

        VIA Launches High Volume Electric Vehicle Assembly Plant in Mexico
        http://www.viamotors.com/news/press-releases/mexicoelectricvehicles/
        Quote: “The new facility is strategically located in a free trade zone near several major automakers and suppliers. New vehicles are transported from the General Motors production facility in Silao, to VIA’s assembly plant in nearby San Luis Potosi, where they are transformed into electric vehicles by integrating VIA’s proprietary extended range electric power train”

    3. liberty says:

      GM absolutely could supply them with a modified truck with less stuff, but via likely won’t sell many, what is it for GM now? via needs an ice for a generator. If via is sucessful, and actually uses many thousands of trucks a year, i’m sure gm would be happy to make them a run. Here in 2014 I would expect tens or hudreds not thousands

    4. Bill Howland says:

      Lutz is conversant with manufacturing techniques. Small volume changes upset the main factory apparently at a low quantity of 5000 Via’s per annum.

      As production increases David, I’m quite certain you’ll see production lines producing the Via more efficiently, without the current ‘double work’ you are to some people’s view rightly criticizing.

  2. Anon says:

    THAT’S why he was badmouthing the Volt / GM. 😉

    1. Bill Howland says:

      He’s not badmouthing them, He was single – handledly responsible for the Volt, and he is just being modest (eg: “We made a mistake.”).

      He didn’t make a mistake: GM’s engineers said it was impossible to build an electric car. You have to Walk before you can run, and its a good thing Lutz got out an electric car at all. I have a 2011 and I think its still a fine car, and I’m not alone.

  3. Big Solar says:

    why dont they talk to ford or dodge then?

    1. Dan Frederiksen says:

      Converting pickup trucks is wrong. That is truly like perfume on a pig.
      So whether Ford or GM, it doesn’t matter.

      I expect this fiasco to very closely follow the Azure dynamics Ford Transit fiasco. VIA has more murica appeal but at the same time weighed down more by murica moronity. Because such a dumb vehicle is rather expensive to electrify.

      Incidentally their website runs like it’s hosted in a small village in china.

      The VIA truck is priced somewhere north of 80 grand. The same gas truck starts at 26k$
      What could possibly go wrong.

      1. Open-Mind says:

        $26K? The loaded pickups shown in that video are more like $46K. The Suburbans can exceed $60K. Once electrified, their annual fuel savings could be up to $3K. Plus a reduced maintenance cost. Plus each vehicle can serve as a very good portable generator.

        1. scottf200 says:

          Fleet managers understand how to project a vehicle cost/usage out several years. VTRUX Lifecycle Savings Calculator | VIA Motors – Calculator:
          http://www.viamotors.com/vtrux/calculator/

          1. Alan says:

            It seems the economics of these trucks make more sense than regular EVs – if the numbers from this calculator are accurate.

          2. ggpa says:

            Scott … the calculator is a fairy tale. Or have they supplied proof for the oversize claims?

            Please post real data when you have it. In the interim, feel free to dream on.

            also see http://insideevs.com/from-2013-to-2020-fleets-will-buy-350000-hybrid-and-electric-trucks/

      2. Alan says:

        Sure, it makes no sense to buy one of these trucks, SUVs, or VANs for a solo work commute – but I don’t think that’s the target here at all. If you fill up the seats in a big van or SUV, the per passenger MPG is pretty good. Make it electric, your numbers are excellent. Best Western has a contract for 1000 of these vehicles for shuttles; I’m sure they’re watching the bottom line. The cost calculator on their website shows a considerable savings over an 8 year lifespan.

      3. Bill Howland says:

        Well Dan, the only part you are correct about here is the sorry state of Via’s web site, I cannot explain its lack of information and contradictions.

        However, like it or not, Large Vehicles have a place. The last time a Tesla representative came to my house, it was in a Tesla branded 100% gasoline powered pickup truck. As one commenter succintly stated, you cannot deliver a refrigerator on a bicycle.

        Bob Lutz was dead on right with the Volt, (he must realize you have to walk before you can run), and he is dead right taking the gamble of electrifiying the most popular segment of American Vehicles. I don’t like the fact they’re made in Mexico, with all the Americans we have out of work, but everything these days comes from either Mexico or China so its a losing battle here. The amount of gasoline these vehicles will save is enormous, and charging up a huge number of these vehilcles overnight will greatly increase the ‘grid friendliness’ of the automotive industry.

  4. MDEV says:

    EVs need fresh blood young people, this guy is a gasoline headed and I don’t think is capable of understand new technology “software speaking”

  5. GeorgeS says:

    Don’t know if you guys saw this but GM is following in Ford’s footsteps and aluminizing their pick up also:
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303491404579391144135588938?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

    1. scott moore says:

      The aluminization of the car industry, which paradoxically is being done to stave off the need for EVs, will greatly aid EV production in the long run. The Tesla is an aluminum EV.

  6. ClarksonCote says:

    Happy birthday Bob and congrats.

    Also, thanks for busting out that pink tie again for us. 😉

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Heeh, indeed, (=

      Bob had been Mr. Leather Flight Jacket ever since he left GM, but now that he is Chairman at VIA and running things at VL Automotive he has made the switch back to suits and Mr. Pink it appears.

  7. ggpa says:

    Via Motors is such a tease … how long will it be before they have a truck that can be tested by an independent journalist so we can get real data, not PR?

    Last November, this same blog sent them a challenge “VIA needs to get its ducks in a row … There is a bumpy road ahead for VIA and, as an automaker, it needs to clarify its offerings and educate the skeptics.” … http://insideevs.com/via-motors-celebrates-opening-of-high-volume-erev-assembly-facility-in-mexico/

    If they had impressive data to share, they could have done so by now.

    1. Taser54 says:

      Because VIA’s products are fleet products, they are marketing directly to fleet managers. They’ve worked with PG&E, Fedex, Verizon etc. with test vehicles. So VIA is convincing the corporations it needs to convince with actual vehicles and getting direct feedback.

      1. ggpa says:

        Sorry, but I did not understand the point you are trying to make.

        If Via has a product, they want to sell to fleets or any other users, there should be information available about it. You can read reviews online of other fleet vehicles.

        “Fleet” is a sales model, which does not require you to hide technical merits of the product.

  8. offib says:

    How the hell is this guy 82 years old? I’d image when he’ll cough and roll over at the age north of 100, everyone will think that he’s in his 60s.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      He’s fighter Pilot fit. The years have been kind to him.