Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bob Lutz Walks Away from G.M.

The iconic and colorful Bob Lutz is retiring from G.M.

Lawrence Ulrich of The New York Times reports:
In an auto industry characterized by public apologies, hairshirt humility and bland company men, Mr. Lutz was more in the vein of the late Henry Ford II, whose lasting epigram was, “Never complain, never explain.”

Famously blunt, occasionally stubborn and blessed with a knack to lead, inspire and provoke, Mr. Lutz, a onetime Marine aviator, will wrap up a 47-year career when he retires on May 1.


  1. In my opinion, he's one of the all-time-great "car guys".

    Every durables manufacturer that necessarily designs and markets to elicit customer emotional involvement in its products, needs someone like Mr. Lutz at its highest levels who inherently understands how an industrial organization can achieve those goals starting with nothing but raw materials and talent.

    An automotive company that thinks of itself as solely a maker of high-quality, safe transportation appliances, and is run by bean counters and efficiency experts, cannot meet all the desires of a significant segment of its customers. Humans are emotional beings; automobiles appeal to those emotions. For that, you need somebody like Mr. Lutz.

    The next generation of Lutz-types hasn't been very visible within any of the major automobile companies. Here's hoping they come to the fore.

  2. JWilly-

    Well said. I agree that product design and 'feel' are emotional characteristics which will make the difference between an efficient business and a successful business.

    Unfortunately, with the US taxpayer owning a majority of GM, I don't expect creativity as much as an absolute aggressive management of the bottom line. This approach will ultimately spell disaster for GM.


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