Q&A: "We Didn't Know Everyone Was Going to Build Such Ugly Cars"

Q: Your comment on the concept sports-utility vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show in January--that they "resembled angry kitchen appliances"--was pretty harsh. What's wrong with the cars you saw there?

A: They're all starting to look the same. They had goofy, jagged tail lights, trapezoidal wheels. There must have been 20 vehicles that looked like that. But they'll get it right.

Q: Is there anything that worked well at the show?

A: The only car at the show that people liked was the Buick Bengal [a convertible roadster that was shown as a concept car]. It has a beautiful, fluid, exquisite shape.

Q: Since your days at Chrysler, you've wanted to bring out a prestige luxury car. Why?

A: America has no prestige luxury brand. Cadillac and Lincoln self-destructed by going after fleet business. The goal is to produce an American alternative to European prestige cars.

Q: Why do you think your Cunningham concept car was such a hit at the auto show? Did you expect that?

A: We didn't know everyone was going to build such ugly cars.

Q: What are your thoughts on DaimlerChrysler's current troubles?

A: It doesn't break my heart. But it's a source of considerable emotional and financial disappointment. [Lutz still owns shares in the company.]

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