This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 7, 2002. Click here to order Monday's entire transcript.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The race is on in the Motor City, as car makers pull out all the stops at the Detroit Auto Show. General Motors counting on some of its flashy, concept cars to entice future buyers.
Earlier, I spoke with its creative muscleman, Bob Lutz at GM, and I asked him how he'll get consumers to bite?
ROBERT LUTZ, VICE CHAIRMAN, GENERAL MOTORS: The vehicle has to speak for itself. If the vehicle, almost regardless of name plate, does trigger the lust to buy, then you've lost the battle. You've got to be able to not have to explain the vehicle. The vehicle has got to do its own talking. And I think an opal blue roadster behind me, if that could be produced for a price of say around $20,000, I don` think we would have to explain anything to anybody. I think the thing would be sold out.
CAVUTO: That car behind you will be priced around $20,000?
LUTZ: That's the idea. We use all low-cost components, and it would be equipped with a four-cylinder engine only. No power top, no frills, no electronics, no blue-tooth enabling or anything. Nothing crazy, just the car.
CAVUTO: You know, you're a car guy, a real car guy. And in this business, you have to be a car guy. You also have to be an incentive guy. And GM has kind of limited that for 2002, with this -- still generous 2002 -- cash back, but that is about it for the time being. Is this a sign that either GM or the industry, more to the point, is going to be stingier this year?
LUTZ: Well, it depends on how the market develops. The $2,002 for 2002 with 2001 General Motors cars are programmed that we've marked it under the name of GM Overdrive goes through the end of February. And at the end of February, we will see what the market looks like.
This time, we've swept everything together and it's a very clear $2,002 on any General Motors car and truck through the end of February. And the consumer has absolute flexibility of how he or she wants to use it, either to use it as a down payment or if it's applied to a lease, to reduce the size of the lease payment. So we think it is very successful program and obviously, if the market turns out to be better in 2002 than we had planned for -- and there are, by the way, some early economic indicators that show that maybe the economy has bottomed out.
CAVUTO: Do you buy that, by the way?
LUTZ: Yes, I do. Don't forget these incentive activities in the last quarter just about cleaned out dealer inventories industry wide. Inventories at the end of 2001 were about 800,000 units lower than at the end of 2000. So just inventory replenishment is going to give us a very strong sales for a while.
CAVUTO: But do you worry that you do have these strong sales, but at a cost? Your bottom line is trimmed to the bone.
LUTZ: Well, why don't you wait until we announce our financial results and then make that judgment.
CAVUTO: Fair enough. Let me ask just about you personally, 69 years old. You've suited up again to help a major car maker. And now you are getting all the buzz that you are coming up with some of the best and unique designs that guys half your age haven't thought of. You feel a little vindication for the older set?
LUTZ: Well, I hope so. I hope it gives hope to geriatric Americans everywhere. But I have got to warn you, inside I think I never got much beyond 25 years old.
CAVUTO: There you go. Do you think that's what is going to make it for you? I mean, the feeling seems to be that Rick Wagner has given you all the power and authority you need to continue pushing out new designs and getting rid of those that you don't like. So you do you have sort of like a long leash to do whatever the heck you please?
LUTZ: Well, nobody ever has that. But I have got as long a leash as anybody ever should be given. I think I enjoy the confidence of Rick Wagner and the GM board and Jack Smith. But more importantly, I am working together with a really, really, really excellent team. And we've got a wonderful dialogue going with a whole army of really terrific car guys in the company.
And I'm being very careful not to impose my will in all cases because if I do, nobody learns anything. And then the second danger is as I like to say about myself, I'm frequently wrong, but never in doubt. So, you know, while my batting average may be better than that of most people, I am not infallible. I mean, I have, in my career, brought out stuff that I personally thought was going to work with the public, and it didn't. And on the other hand, there have been instances where I have been against bringing out a product because I didn't think it would be successful and it turned out to be wildly successful. So, you know, I am no more infallible than the next guy.
So, I've got all the freedom I need, but I am using it to build a strong team and to basically act as coach. And my goal is to get to the point where I can coach from the sidelines and I don't have to be out on the field making a lot of plays.
CAVUTO: Bob Lutz.
Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2001 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2001 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.