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March 4, 2010

US: GM’s Bob Lutz to retire (again)

General Motors Vice Chairman Robert ('Bob') Lutz will retire effective 1 May, 2010, capping a 47-year career in the global auto industry that included senior leadership positions at four of the world’s leading automakers.

General Motors Vice Chairman Robert (‘Bob’) Lutz will retire effective 1 May, 2010, capping a 47-year career in the global auto industry that included senior leadership positions at four of the world’s leading automakers.

Though revered by many in the industry, especially in North America, Lutz has been a controversial and outspoken character at times. He was seen by some as an old-style ‘car guy’ and advocate of muscle cars; in 2008 he expressed scepticism over global warming in memorably colourful terms. Nevertheless, he also championed the development of the Chevrolet Volt, which he has described as his proudest achievement.

Lutz, 78, rejoined GM on 1 September, 2001, as the head of product development. He also worked at BMW, Chrysler and Ford.

“The influence Bob Lutz has had on GM’s commitment to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles will last for years to come,” GM CEO and Chairman Ed Whitacre said. 

“I, along with many other men and women in GM and throughout the industry, have greatly benefited from his passion, wisdom and guidance.”

Lutz said he decided to retire now in part because hot-selling vehicles like the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac SRX, GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Camaro, along with the growing strength of GM’s four brands, prove that a product-focused mindset inside the company is in place for the long term.

“I can confidently say that the job I came here to do more than nine years ago is now complete – the team I have been fortunate to lead has far exceeded my expectations,” Lutz said. 

“Our product lineup is as strong as it has been in GM’s history.  The perception of our products and brands is beginning to catch up with reality. And most importantly, the absolute commitment to being a product-driven company is ingrained throughout the organisation – from the top down – and I am confident that, under Ed Whitacre’s leadership, the straightforward, singular focus on product will endure.”

Lutz, a GM vice chairman, was appointed senior advisor in December 2009 and “will continue to provide guidance on design and key product initiatives until he retires on 1 May”.

 From the archive:

LONDON SHOW: Interview with Bob Lutz

LONDON SHOW: GM committed to “onslaught of new products” – Lutz

US: GM’s Lutz defends global warming ‘crock’ remarks

INTERVIEW: Lutz says Chevrolet-badged Daewoos a good decision

Automotive News Europe Congress 2004 – a review

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