There’s significant demand for the Bob Lutz-backed Fisker Karma V8 conversions, especially now that Fisker, the company, doesn’t look particularly suited to provide parts and/or technical support for their existing hybrid powertrains. So his interest in Fisker getting bailed out makes sense. That said, it’s specifically because of Lutz’ involvement that I hope the whole enterprise crashes and burns.
Bob Lutz is an interesting guy. Once upon a time, Bob Lutz was a fighter pilot. Bob Lutz was also the guy who came up with that “ultimate driving machine” tagline for BMW, and one of the leading architect’s of Chrysler’s 1980s turnaround from bankruptcy. More recently, he happened to be a big deal at a bankrupt GM, where he talked about things like “sculpture you want own” in between remarks about global warming and climate change science being “a crock of shit“. Fresh off those remarks, it should come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that Bob Lutz is all set to pounce on the Fisker Karma’s slinky curves and stuff them full of gas-guzzling V8s.
Think that’s an exaggeration? Here’s a quote from the man, himself, in an article from Forbes: “I want Fisker to live and succeed, if only to ensure a continuing supply of Karma bodies for my and my parter’s (sic) VL Destino, a de-electrified Karma with a Corvette drive train.”
Why? Here’s a few more Bob Lutz gems from the rants listed in “Sources”, at the bottom of this page.
“Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota “make no economic sense,” because their price will never come down.”
“I’m motivated more by the desire to replace imported oil than by the CO2.”
“Introduced at the height of the “green car” craze, fueled by “reliable” predictions of “peak oil” and a rise in gasoline prices to $5 a gallon or over, the moneyed eco-class signed up in droves.”
“The green craze is, frankly, ebbing.”
See what I’m talking about? In addition to being a bit patronizing and sounding ever-so-slightly like a second-string conservative radio talk show host, Bob Lutz is totally out of step with anything other his own pocketbook and, possibly, the mental midgets who think “tornado guns” are a thing. Beyond an appeal to a few aging baby-boomers that think the octogenarian has the same kind of fatherly “tough guy” image that John “Definitely NOT a Tough Guy IRL” Wayne exuded 40 or 50 years ago, I’m not sure there’s anything that Lutz can realistically bring to a fledgling car company’s table anymore that has any value. Nothing, that is, except cash – and Lutz has a ton of cash right now.
Lutz’ VL Automotive (the company stuffing V8s into Fiskers) is backed in its bid to buy out the US Gov’t interest in Fisker by China’s Wanxiang Group. The two companies, along with a separate push by investors in Europe and Hong Kong, including billionaire Richard Li, are looking to gain control of Fisker through a prepackaged bankruptcy. If successful, Lutz would likely be able buy out the DOE’s position in Fisker at a steep discount, meaning the company’s would be free from most of its obligation to pay back the $192 million in government loans it collected before the DOE pulled the plug.
It’ll be an interesting few weeks for Mr. Lutz, to say the least, as the Fisker drama continues. Here’s hoping something good and, maybe even a little environmentally responsible, comes out of it.