My question is this. Given Lutz's recent blogging, are customers more or less likely to believe his explanation of the decision? Is it true, a lie, or bull? I'm inclined to believe it's mostly truth. Here's why.
The decision seems to be driven by a need to re-prioritize product development resources. Here's the Detroit News' interpretation:
But [Lutz] pulled the plug on the North America models after determining the vehicles could not be engineered and assembled to sell at prices competitive with the popular Chrysler 300C, Ford Mustang and other models, without sacrificing quality and content.
[snip] The news comes after GM reassured investors, suppliers and Wall Street analysts last week that future car and truck programs would remain on schedule despite a new cost-cutting effort.
Fair enough. Here's what Lutz says in his blog:
We are simply reallocating resources (human and financial) to pull some other programs ahead and get other vehicles to market sooner. The press speculates this means we're doing it to get our next-generation large SUVs and pickups out sooner. You could see how one might reasonably come to such a conclusion.
He's a little cutesy, avoiding the issue of competitive production, but he pretty much confirms that the change is about re-deploying resources to trucks and SUVs.
Now, compare that with the line that came from Marc Beckers, a GM spokesman quoted in the Detroit News article:
While work on particular North American applications of our premium rear-wheel drive midsize vehicle architecture have indeed been stopped, we have begun to study new approaches to efficiently capitalize on future opportunities we see for future midsize rear-wheel drive applications.
How bad does that one smell?
All in all, I think Bob's done OK here, all things considered. Especially when compared with the corporate PR guy.