What’s your daily driver, and how long is your average commute?
I’m currently in a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse High Country. My commute is about 65 miles round trip. It takes 25 to 30 minutes, most of the time, each way.
What’s your favorite weekend or summer holiday drive?
I really like the drive to my father’s cottage. It’s a nice blend of highway and beautiful Michigan countryside driving, to my favorite place on Earth — where I can just sit on the porch and spend time with my family.
What current motorized vehicle (made by some other company than your own) do you particularly admire?
I am really captivated by Mercedes’ styling. I like the classic elegance of all the Mercedes cars.
What historic car or truck do you wish you owned?
I had a 1976 Chevy Impala, but I wish I had a Caprice or Impala from that period with a V-8. There’s something about that 1970s cop car look that I really love, from that time when aerodynamics just didn’t matter. Driving those big, squared-off cars and trucks, with those engines, you felt invincible.
In what country, or in what area of this country, are the best roads for driving?
I’m biased but Michigan has this great landscape, and all this terrain and elevation change. And think about the number of lakes we’ve got! It’s one of the best-kept driving secrets in America. But I also love the drive from Pebble Beach up to San Francisco.
What’s the top speed you’ve ever traveled in a car, and where did that take place?
About 160 miles per hour, as a passenger, in a Corvette Z06, on a race track, with a professional driver. I know my limitations. I leave the high-performance driving to the professionals.
What’s the biggest challenge currently facing the automotive industry?
Everyone talks about inflection points, but we are really at an inflection point. Between what we see happening and what we think could happen.… You know, you can have the future happen to you, or you can define what the future can be. That’s our challenge.
What’s the most exciting change currently at work in the automotive industry?
Electrification. We have this opportunity to fundamentally change a propulsion system that has defined the automobile for the last 100 years. It presents an entirely new chapter for us, and a completely new series of conversations. So we all have to open our apertures and take advantage of the opportunity to rethink everything we’re doing.
What’s the one area where the automotive industry, as a whole, could be doing a better job?
I point to technology. When you think about how much new technology has been put into today’s automobiles, with 8-inch touch screens and lane-keeping warnings and pedestrian cross-traffic alerts and everything else, it’s amazing what we’re doing. But while the technology is great, we need to do a better job of taking what is complex and making it simple. The challenge isn’t that the technology isn’t great. But it’s our fault as an industry for not showing people the best way to use it.
If the future offered flawless autonomous driving, would you still keep a car for weekend driving?
Absolutely. There’s something about the pure emotion of driving a car. We’ll use Lyft, and we’ll embrace autonomous vehicles, but driving along, and having that sense of solitude and of being in command, is not replaceable. In this era of over-scheduling and hyper-connectivity, people crave the pure quiet of that 25-minute commute when they can be alone with their thoughts. And this isn’t limited to driving a Corvette. The pleasures of driving are available in every car.
MORE FROM THE L.A. AUTO SHOW