Bob Lutz Thinks Cars Will Be Dead Within 20 Years

Former vice chairman of General Motors, Bob Lutz has a scary prediction for the automotive industry, claiming that it will be dead as we know it within 20 years.

The outspoken industry leader asserts in an Automotive News piece that the car will be killed off in the coming decades due to the arrival of fully-autonomous, standardized modules.

“The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve. For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile. Now we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules,” Lutz said.

What’s more, Lutz claims that in the next 15 to 20 years, human-operated vehicles will be made illegal on public roads as the vast majority of people opt instead to use autonomous modules operated by transportation companies like Uber and Lyft.

Lutz’s disastrous outlook doesn’t stop there. He believes that traditional automakers will cease to exist in a couple of decades and that there will no longer be a demand for performance-oriented vehicles. Why? Well he claims that all ‘modules’ will operate at the same speeds and they’ll be no need to have anything faster.

In the future, Lutz believes that owning and using human-controlled vehicles will become an “elitist thing” and restricted to private country clubs and, potentially, public tracks.

As qualified as Lutz is to talk about the future of the automotive industry, we’re quite confident that none of the things he’s predicting will happen within 20 years. In 50 years? Maybe, but we certainly hope not.

Check out the link above to read Lutz’s entire article.

Note: ‘The Float’ concept from Renault pictured below.

PHOTO GALLERY

  • Craig

    This is why we need to introduce teenagers to the JOY of driving. We need to pass on down to them our love of cars.

    • Six_Tymes

      good point

      if Bob Lutz turns out to be correct, and I don’t give crap if its 20 or 50 years from now, with either length of time when and if that future occurs, that means some loss of freedom will come with that change. In the grand scheme, its the antisocial younger demographic paving that future, and since most don’t give a rats ass about cars, Lutz is most likely correct with his predictions. a real shame to allow any kind of freedoms to slip away in society.

      • smartacus

        the kids would get back into the joy of driving
        if our food supply weren’t full of all that soy.
        They contain boatloads of phyto-estrogens

      • javier

        that’s about the size of it, in a word Orwellian

      • Holmer_k

        Well the good news is he can’t have the time line right. Maybe they could do a New York City sized area or two, but it won’t make it country wide for a lot longer than that. And that’s the bad news. It will start in highly dense areas, but it will eventually reach out to all. That said, it won’t stop us from driving, it will only relegate our driving to track time. And it will take a long, long, long time to reach the outlying countryside.

        • TheHake

          yep, 20 years is right around the corner. It can’t happen that fast.

    • smartacus

      if we measured the amount of daylight hours in USA from Jun 22. 2017 till today;
      scientists would predict that by June 22 2018, USA will be plunged into darkness.

      That’s why I’m not jumping on board the prediction that cars will be history in 2037

      • thunder bolt

        Bob is an idiot, because cars create businesses for manufacturers, dealers, fuel production, auto shops, after market accessories, and taxes for local governments. So no freaking way dumb ass Bobby, it’ ain’t gonna happen.

    • Status

      What joy in driving? The endless maintaince? The prohibitive costs of insurance? The traffic jams that waste time? Yeah, there’s lots of joy to be had for teenagers in an expensive and wasteful machine that lowers their quality of life

      You’re like the fools who complain about how teenagers are ‘killing’ the golf industry.

      • sympathetic

        If that’s your take, why are you even wasting your time on this website?

        • Status

          You don’t see cars as both a industrial design exercise and as a function of urban planning? That’s why I’m here. Not everyone is here just for HP and TQ figures and Ring lap times.

      • Craig

        Drop dead.

        • Status

          You’re older and more likely to go first. Stop whining just because you can’t have it ‘your way’.

      • TheHake

        Go read some Pumpkin Spice Skinny Latte recipe’s.

        • Status

          I’m not white enough to go to Starbucks.

          • TheHake

            You can read the recipe’s on the bus.

    • fabri99

      Trust me, we do WANT to drive. It’s just that taxes, insurance, fuel and mantainance prices are not exactly… a joy. Especially if you’re trying to save some money to pay for college so that you don’t end up drowning in debts later.

      • Craig

        Practically every teenager from every generation would tell you the same thing. This is why most ‘first cars’ are often old and awful. But it’s what they represent that makes them special.

    • thunder bolt

      good luck, now a day they all have an app for that.

  • tvrfly57689

    not gonna happen

  • kachuks

    Remember the first time you saw a poster of a Countach and wanted one on your bedroom wall? Or the first time Sam Malone drove up to Cheers in that pristine Vette Stingray?

    Just another of Bob’s predictions that won’t come true because he is wrong and won’t be around to see anyways.

    • Six_Tymes

      I dont know any younger than me hanging car posters on their walls, not many do anymore. and in 20-50 years hes basically saying no one will be.

      • Rocc E. Normyss

        I still have my Farrah Fawcett poster…

        • Six_Tymes

          sweet

        • javier

          nice, i am re doing my garage and i was thinking about a ff poster and maybe some group B rally race cars, paris dakar bikes back when they allowed twins

      • TheHake

        Do the lighties still have posters of girls on their walls? Nope. So the human race is doomed since there is no interest in girls anymore either. Well, except from other girls…

    • Status

      Just because Gen X and Gen Y valued cars with wall posters and lame sitcoms doesn’t mean Gen Z will too.

      All you have are fading memories. Gen Z will make their own memories that most likely won’t have a place for cars. Deal with it.

      • PB

        Good to see that freedom and autonomy don’t mean anything to you. You’ll fit well into the world our (((Overlords))) have planned for us.

        • TheHake

          Yup. He/she is exactly what Big Brother wants us to be.

          • Status

            And you too are confusing car ownership with both physical mobility and personal autonomy. They are not alike and you are also wrong.

          • Cobrajet

            I hope the democrats don’t entertain people like this.

          • Status

            What makes you think I’m a democrat?

            What make you think I’m an American?

        • Status

          Who said anything about losing your autonomy or freedom? People had just as much autonomy before cars as they do now. Cars are a privilege, not a right, and the absence or presence of a car doesn’t dictate your physical mobility or your political ability.

          Have you forgotten how to walk? Because you still have that, and not even the most despotic dictatorship on earth has banned walking.

          You’re confusing car ownership with both physical mobility and personal autonomy. They are not alike and you are wrong.

  • Leconte Dave

    No thanks

    • javier

      somehow i don’t think we get a choice

  • EXPLAINS WHY GM IS WHERE IT IS TODAY.

    • OdysseyTag

      Thought the same thing.

    • dumblikeyou2

      But ironically, when he was there, is when GM was at least turning out more interesting models. GM appears to be on that corporate bean-counter spiral again with undesirable appliances fit for fleet mostly. That Barra chick needs to go.

  • LJ

    Great. By the time I can afford a Mustang GT again, it won’t exist.

  • LeStori

    There is a drive to reduce the road toll in most first world countries. This will only occur by removing the most dangerous component in a car, the human. However there are many countries that collectively hold over half the world’s population. They are not very far down the development track. I find it hard to believe they will be autonomous in 50 years ,let alone 20. I can see why GM went bankrupt in 2009. No foresight within their senior management.

    • Trocadero

      Bob Lutz was part of the senior management of GM for many years.

      • BGM

        Yes, I remember Bob. He was *the car guy* at GM. That tells you everything you need to know about GM, at least in those times. I can name only a few big execs at the car companies and Lutz is in my memory for all the wrong reasons. This moronic statement of his is just further proof.

  • CyberRanger

    Lutz clearly has never spent time outside a large city b/c his so-called future is incompatible with rural America.

    • fgclolz

      Very typical of executives who never get out of their ivory towers.

    • Auf Wiedersehen

      Last I heard, he actually has a large rural property…so that ain’t it. This is a case of an old guy complaining about how things aren’t what they used to be. “Damn whipersnappers!” “get off my lawn!” “The kids today!”

      • serge charles

        bingo

      • CyberRanger

        Some people’s idea of large property & rural is neither one.

        I live on 35 acres & some people think that’s huge. It’s not. It is rural b/c the nearest gas station is 25 mi away. Many consider 5 mi outside a major metro area rural… it’s not.

        • Auf Wiedersehen

          ru·ral
          ˈro͝orəl/
          adjective
          in, relating to, or characteristic of the countryside rather than the town.
          “remote rural areas”

          I can’t speak for to size of Bob’s property, but the interview he gave ON his property was not in a city, therefore by definition Rural.

    • Status

      Rural America is dying. Who’s going to live there except for land owners? You can’t reasonably expect teenagers put rural land-ownership at top of mind and therefore necessitate the use of a car.

  • Marty

    That’s not how the world works. Different generations of tech have always coexisted. You can still ride your horse on the streets if you want.

    In order to succeed, autonomous vehicles will have to work perfectly together with non-autonomous vehicles, so that feature will already be built-in if the autonomous cars become the majority.

    And really, not letting “performance oriented” be the kings of street traffic was always a good idea. They belong were they can be used properly by people who can handle them.

  • ZYGIUS

    in the 50ies they was saying cause in ’00 cars will gravitate

    • Obsequious Lickspittle

      Where to?

  • karmat

    I hate to say it but I think he’s on the right track. Here in Ontario Canada, I’m discouraged at every level when I look into getting a performance car. Insurance rates are high for performance cars, and they’re already pushing electronic monitoring devices to give you a better rate. You can’t modify anything built after 1987 because of emissions visual and electronic inspections, and trying to get insurance on an old car as a daily driver is getting expensive. You can insure it as a classic car if it’s your second car, but it needs a $200 appraisal, and if there are any “competition” parts in the appraisal photos, they might deny you. I gave my broker a VIN for an old 1984 Fox body Mustang the other day, and he said he couldn’t find a company to insure it. If there’s a war on performance cars and motorcycles, I’ll move to cycling until the government screws that up too.

  • klowik

    There’ll be no more car designers, every car would just look like a plain slab on wheels…this could happen in the future but then driving will become a luxury.

    • Status

      Driving already is a luxury. Cheap gas lessens it and makes driving commonplace. But since gasoline prices aren’t fixed and like every other expense are subject to change, what once was commonplace will become an exclusive luxury yet again (just like in the 1910’s).

  • javier

    yup, with someone else controlling the software some people will not be allowed some places while a very small number will

  • Infinite1

    There are people who love to drive, love performance cars, and don’t like depending on ride sharing companies or taxis. The demand for performance vehicles will always be there, it’s up to the manufacturer to decide whether or not they want to supply it to the masses.

    • Obsequious Lickspittle

      No, it’s up to governments…

    • Status

      Those people who love to drive and love performance cars are, as ever, a minority consumer base. Some do have the means to have performance cars, but most don’t and have only dreams.

      There will always be a demand for it, but in the future fewer and fewer people will have both the dreams and the means to get a performance car, much less a reasonable justification for it.

  • Rzrlf

    anybody else notice the “float concept” is a bunch of anal beads? maybe thats what lutz is really afraid of

  • Trackhacker

    I think what he means is in 15-20 years, GM will be officially bankrupt and gone.

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    It’s all starting to make sense! Even in Minority Report they knew it!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/541b747f78db97d16aa74eaea08eff604bd999e68fdb670a57ffd5cd79721330.png

  • Enter Ranting

    Only if you sell “standardized modules,” Bob.

  • TheHake

    Call me an elitist then.

    • Status

      I guess you’ll want those pumpkin spice latte recipes then. Where else would you elitists go to in your cars?

      • TheHake

        I don’t need a destination to drive. What people like you don’t understand is that we don’t want cars for freedom or autonomy or what the hell ever. We want cars BECAUSE WE LOVE CARS. I’ve always loved them and always will.

  • CyberRanger

    °I want to see an autonomous vehicle function is -40° temp in a whiteout snow storm where you cannot see more than 100′ or so. I’d also like to see one function on an unpaved road or out of range of a cell or wifi signal. How do they handle black ice or mild road flooding?

    They work so-so in everyday urban conditions, but anything even moderately outside those optimum condition will render them useless.

    Throw in some conditions that slightly stress a human driver & you’ll autonomous vehicles won’t be able to cope… at least for the foreseeable future.

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