GM’s Lutz: 80% Vehicles Will Be Hybrids by 2020

Four out of five General Motors vehicles sold in the United States will have to be hybrids by 2020, according to Bob Lutz, the company’s product guru. Speaking at the New York Auto Show, Lutz said, “Ultimately by 2020 we figure that 80 percent of vehicles will require some sort of hybridization,” because of new U.S. fuel- economy standards. “We cannot get to 35 miles per gallon with anything resembling the current product portfolio with anything resembling current technology.”

In a Bloomberg News report yesterday, Lutz targeted the percentage of hybrid sales to approximately 30 percent by 2015. “Around 2015 we’re going to have to sell a ton of hybrids whether people want them or not.” He added, “It’s basically going to result in the quasi-disappearance of V-8 engines.”

Lutz comments echo earlier predictions from the company. Last year, Larry Burns, GM’s vice-president of research and development, predicted that hybrid-electric vehicles, coupled with flexible-fuel models, could account for as much as 80 percent of the cars and trucks sold in the United States by 2030,” according to the New York Times. Hybrids from General Motors currently comprise less than one percent of the hybrid market. In February, Saturn hybrids sold approximately 30 units and the company did not report sales for Chevrolet hybrids.

Predictions from GM’s chief hybrid competitors—Toyota, Ford and Honda—are consistent with Lutz’s assessment. Masatami Takimoto, Toyota executive vice president in charge of powertrain development, expects hybrids to account for “100 percent” of Toyota’s vehicles by 2020. Speaking at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Hybrid Symposium back in 2005, John German, manager of environmental and energy analyses for American Honda, stated “Hybrids could reach 50 to 70 percent of the market in 10 years.” At that time, Michael Tamor, manager of Ford’s Sustainable Mobility Technologies, said, “If you think about the 15- to 20-year timeframe, you could argue that all vehicles are going to be hybrids. It’s just a matter of which powerplant is used in the hybrid system.”

New fuel economy and carbon emissions laws, rising oil prices, and advances in battery technology are increasing the likelihood of these prognostications.


  • Skeptic

    “Could” make up a third of sales. “Won’t” is more like it. Note that 7 years before that date, they only sold 30 Saturn hybrids in one month. 30!

    GM will keep making stuff people don’t want until they run out of credit … which could be soon!

    Idiots. Their stuff is all vaporware.

  • PaulRivers

    GM’s hybrids released so far are the “light” hybrids which have little effect on fuel economy, so they’re not selling because they’re hybrids, and they’re also not selling because GM has a reputation for producing unreliable cars.

    If GM sold a car that was as reliable as the Toyota and Honda hybrids, and was also a “real” hybrid with significant fuel economy gains I’d consider it, but I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

  • steved28

    This announcement is nothing more than a complaint about CAFE standards by GM. Threatening the public with “no more V8s”. GM will never change, and I will never buy one.

  • jim from the foothills

    GM should start by apologizing to former customer for all of the lousy cars they produced over the years. Good for Karma.

    Next they should build a decent product and stop selling crappy ones.

  • sean

    Bob Lutz must be a convert. He was the guy who in 2003 said that Prius is a stunt from Toyota. See how much thins have changed. Laughing all the way to my Corolla. Ha ha ha.

  • Riktok

    Over the past years GM has made lousy and unreliable cars. Yet they still have not figured that people want the best cars they can get. If i ran the company i would have noticed this earlier.

  • Eric2

    Can you say, BULLS*!T (!?!)

    Remember when Bill Ford pulled the TV ad, “I promise Ford will have 100,000 hybrids on the road by 2010″ (or whatever the year was), then later recanted on his promise?

    Bulls*!t from the PR and marketing department, that’s all this is…in fact, if I knew any one of your readers currently reading this, I’d personally put money down on a bet that GM will not have 80% hybrid vehicles by 2020.

  • steved28

    Read between the lines…

    “Around 2015 we’re going to have to sell a ton of hybrids whether people want them or not.”

    What he is implying is that the government is forcing their hands to make something the public does not want. This is a shot at the government and also an attempt to rile the public, nothing more. GM will fight this just as they did the California mandates. Sad thing is they will probably win.

  • craigels39

    While this is a rather lofty goal, it isn’t GM’s problem. GM talks a good game, but they always end up producing crap cars instead of cars people want. A V-8 engine is overkill for 95% of the automobiles that have one. The new fuel-management systems (where 4 of the 8 cylinders shut off for cruising) is a step in the right direction, but good riddance V-8.

    In the mean time, I’ll be impressed when I see the Volt make it to market, much less 80%.

  • Skeptic

    Me too, but the Volt, like all their other stuff, is vaporware. The media, hungry for content, laps up whatever swill GM is selling without questioning it. OK, they lap up the swill from *any* company’s marketing department, but I digress …

    The sad thing is that GM (much like Microsoft) has lots of bright people working for it but (like Microsoft) allows marketing to call the shots and they end up with sh1tty products. The Corvette is pretty darn well engineered. Better than a lot of cars that cost nearly twice as much. Totally irrelevant, but they can obviously do good work when they are allowed to (I have no Microsoft analog).

  • GR

    I just noticed how similar the Chevy Malibu and the Saturn Aura look.

    Maybe if GM condensed their unnecessarily massive car lineup or sold off a few of their pathetic brands (seriously, who needs 13 different car brands?), they could A) make better cars and B) invest more into hybrids and other fuel efficient technologies.

    Let’s start with that GM and go from there.

  • GR

    Maybe there’s hope for them however:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=4485292&page=1

  • Armand

    GM is a joke…die already.

  • Craigels39

    Anybody know why they only sold 19 Saturn Green Line cars. The same reason that no one is buying the hybrid Malibu. The hybrids only get 4 MPG better millage. Not double digit improvements like a Toyota Camry or a Ford Escape.

    I’m with Eric2, I’ll put money on GM still making cars no one wants in 2020. GM represents what is fundamentally wrong with America. The inability to change for better.

  • Jon S.

    Lutz should be fired for making such a idiotic statement. It’s tantamount to a public crying fit from a 3 year-old not getting what he wants. Translation: “How DARE you force us to change our cars with higher CAFE standards. We’re GM, bitch!” I work for GM, and we’re all scared to death of losing our jobs because our leaders are stubborn mules. We have some of the best design engineers on the planet, but they’re not allowed to work on green design. Lutz is convinced that there will always be a market for gas guzzlers. “Let every other car maker waste their R&D dollars on green” says the modern-day Titanic captain.

  • Tug

    Lutz said on FOX News during the NY auto show that consumers will have to be forced to use HYBRIDS, because GM is being forced to change the min MPG. He also said that it is like saying People are Fat in America and requiring the clothing manufactures to make clothes smaller so that they will be forced into losing weight. GM is going the way of FORD… Their idea of saving MPG is build a tiny car with no standard features… Yeah can anyone say CHEVETTE? Oh he also said that Caddy’s Hybrid Escalade will have 50% better MPG compared to non hybrid. Which is 22city/24high… yeah that is worth the 55k price tag.

  • ahab_us

    All in all, our infrasture doesn’t support the immediate need to transistion to an alternative source of energy (hydrogen fuell cells). As of today, management and our government are highly aware of the implications of a rapid conversion. Agreed! GM and the engineering staff is highly competent. However, the captain at the helm is hold back the true power in developement. Being an engineer, I fully understand the frustration.

  • alexRanm

    Well, face the facts: GM is just too behind in the hybrid market (just as they are lagging in the gasoline market). They are being overtaken easily, mainly by Honda and Toyota. Those two Japanese brands are (especially Toyota) are very far ahead in the hybrid market because they started investing in hybrid technologies actively. The Toyota Prius is proof enough. I would buy a Civic hybrid, a Camry hybrid or Prius any day over any GM crap hybrid.

  • Baltimore Prius Owner

    Dear Bob Lutz – Thanks for making our decision easy when it came time for another new car. Early this week we will be purchasing our second, that’s right Mr. Lutz, our second Toyota Prius. As I tell everyone that asks, it is the best car I ever purchased. This coming from a former dyed-in-the-wool Chevy man.

    First car – 2005 Black Prius
    Second car – 2008 white Prius

  • go green

    IF gmc makes more Tahoe hybrids then I see where your going but if they make the Chevy Aveo into a hybrid then thats where the money would be made since most of the people in America would want to buy an American vehicle so it would be the most fuel efficient American made vehicle out their right now its the ford escape hybrid thats the most fuel efficient american made vehicle and soon to be the saturn vue 2 mode hybrid. and the only way that I would buy one of those is if GMC makes it saffer since no car ratings system makes it a good buy.

  • John S reply

    heres a funny thing each and every year since I have been following this Green era (which is in 2002) GMC’s sales have gone down and same with Ford. But Toyota and Honda sales have been going up up up and the reason for that is because they make the most fuel efficient cars and suvs. Toyota has the Prius which gets 45MPG on average vs the closest GMC model the malibu hybrid which gets around29MPG on average so if GMC wants to make a profit they will have to sell more fuel efficient vehicles

  • Anonymous

    check out the chevy volt..too bad you are the only person that thinks gm is unreliable.and honestly who gives a fuck about hybrid. if i had my way i would just have a funnel going into the intake and use as much gas as possible.

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