By on February 15, 2011


The Daily Beast reports:

As General Motors Co. gets closer to emerging from government oversight, the automaker is trying to hire Bob Lutz, its former chief of vehicle development, as a consultant…
The U.S. Treasury has opposed Lutz’s appointment on the grounds that, since he left the company last May, paying him so close to his retirement could look like a sweetheart payout. The government could soften its opposition in three months, once a year has passed since Lutz’s retirement.

Could it be true? Could the man credited with all of GM’s success and none of its failures really be coming back for more? More to the point, as a consultant? Bob’s current gigs are advising an electric scooter company and the Lotus “revival”… does GM really want to put itself in that company? Oh, who are we kidding? We want Lutz back. The industry just seems so damn boring without him…

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

53 Comments on “Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Lutz Headed Back To GM?...”


  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    Welcome back, Bob – we missed you!

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Stop.  Just friggin’ stop with Lutz already, GM.  He’s a hack.  The only successful product he’s ever been legitimately responsible for developing is the Myth of Bob Lutz.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Oh, please. If not for Bob, and guys like him, in all likelihood, the product would be even more heavily dictated by bean counters like Akerson, which just mean crappier stuff than what we have today.

  • avatar
    dadude53

    Would not surprise me at all. At least they achieved something again at “new” GM that he could run into the ground . I understand he has some in depth experience with multy crash landings.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

     Edward Niedermeyer Ed- Sorry for my role in that. I indeed was emotionally enmeshed and am sorry for letting it take me to such intensity.

    From my pespective, I came in, wanting to share what I have learned. I didn’t make any of it up, I lived it.
    I tried to present facts to support my ideas and was immediately personally slammed, I know I was probably wrong to mention the Illuminati, but thought I was responding in kind.

    Is that what I should expect if commenting on your blog? I’ve not had that experience before.

    • 0 avatar

      No apology necessary. It takes a village to create an overheated comments thread, so to speak. Let’s just all of us remember that the comments section exists to share perspectives, not to squash those who we disagree with. None of us has a monopoly on “truth”… we get closer to the truth by exposing ourselves to outside perspectives and discussing them in a constructive manner.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Even if it were true (which I doubt) what concievable difference would it make?  Is there anything going on now that Bob didn’t have a hand in, is there anything that GM could do that Bob hasn’t already done.  All he does is provide a charicature to attach one’s disdain for all that is corporate in GM.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Why does every picture of Bob look like he’s thinking… “Gawd dang it, somebody give me a cigar!”

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      His grin makes him look like he is really enjoying what he is doing. I’d love to have a drink with him.

    • 0 avatar

      In person, he’s a charming guy who’s fun to talk cars with. How can you not like a guy who says that he has 10 new ideas a day, 8 of them bad?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Hey I’d definitely love to to party with the guy (says the guy who receives a Thompson Cigar Catalog in the mail monthly and views his humidor as a living thing), but unless he brings back the Cadillac Fleetwood at a level of luxury that puts the Hyundai Equis and Lexus LS to shame, I’m not interested.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    This could be fun.
    Seriously, from what I have read about Dan Akerson, he is not a guy who likes to be questioned.  We all know that Lutz is not a guy who likes to be reigned in.  If this is true, I would pay for a ringside seat.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Lutz to come back?  Really?  Why?

    Is there a model that doesn’t yet have a 6.0L supercharged engine?  Or fender vents?  Would he take charge of the Aveo SS program?

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    In GM engineering, we were elated when Lutz came to GM.
    I never met the man, but the first thing that I iremember filtered down to the troops everywhere was his label with the phrase “who sez?”.

    He was out to change the culture. To challenge the mindset “we can’t do it that way because this is the way we have always done it.”

    He inspired great things – Corvette Z06 and now ZR1 Demonstrate not just world class, but world leading capability. He worked magic with Cadillac creating an exciting lineup that is very successful in the market.

    In short, Mr. Lutz knew what was cool, he insisted on it in product execution and he enthused the organization.

    GM’s budding product renaissance is to his credit. He would be a great add to the team, particularly with Stephens moving.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      What did the Z06 and ZR1 accomplish?  Do you sell enough of them to keep the lights on at GM?

      Lutz was a great believer in the halo effect.  Maybe some will but I can’t see dragging myself into a Chevy showroom to look at a car I’ll never need or want.  The Malibu, in my opinion, still can’t go head-to-head with the Camry or Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Corvette is quite profitable for GM, but, you are right to point out that it is a very tiny portion of GM’s business.  They have reported that they only need to sell 30 or so each of the  CTS V Coupes and wagons to pay for the incremental cost of those programs. I would guess the volumes necessary to pay for the Z06 & ZR1 programs are in that ball park too.

      I love the cars, so have a bias, but I do think they create a lot of buzz in the enthusiast press that helps improve the reputation of the nameplate and sell higher volume Camaros for example. 

      From a GM perspective, I believe their intent, much as Volt in the “green arena” is to demonstrate technical competence. That is a halo effect for the corporation. I think you know that has needed a bit of work! These kinds of programs along with racing also help attract and enthuse young engineers. Honda, similarly, uses racing programs to develop young engineers.   

      My opinion is based on this memory: Years ago, Lloyd Reuss, as GM President, was pushing for the earlier, Lotus engine ZR1 Corvette to be the first active suspension car on the market for similar reasons. There would be no springs, just hydraulic actuators to kind of hold the tires in contact with the road. They used the technology of the M1 Tank gun control system. It worked great, but the complexity was terrible, and sensitivity to contamination made any internal service work include a 10-20 hour hydraulic system flush. Forgot the details, but remember it was a very long time.
      The system died before release to production. Probably a good thing. You don’t improve your image with products that are virtually impossible to service!
      The current adaptive systems are much simpler, but seem to be getting good reviews.
       

    • 0 avatar

      Products like the ZR-1 keep the creatives inspired.
      Doctor Olds, are you still with GM?
      Send me an email: rokem@netzero.net

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Doctor,

      Guessing it might take more than 30 Corvettes to turn a profit. Maybe 30,000. Yeah I know the loss leader exists to draw in fanboys and send them off in a brand new Malibu or Impala and the costs to build Corvette’s are rolled into lesser models down stream but I’m just questioning its ultimate business stratagy. It’s time to take some of Corvette’s spirit & inovation and put it into bread & butter cars. Then lure folks to the trap with great cars. I decide what car to buy from the selection I see in person on the street. A salesman has never ‘sold’ me a car.

  • avatar
    Bucks1

    Give me a break!  Bob Lutz is a legitimate car guy.  I first saw him at the Eyes on the Classics show in about 1992.  He was walking around, by himself, no entourage, smoking a cigar in a polo shirt and khakis.  Since then I have seen him numerous times at Meadowbrook.  A few years back, he and the late Dave Holls commandeered a golf cart and were all over the grounds all day long.  He is passionate about cars, I am passionate about cars.  And, sometimes he’s wrong and sometimes I’m wrong.  But I’d much rather have somebody running a car company that is a car guy than a bean counter.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Bob Lutz hated “plastic cladding” I hate plastic cladding. I liked Bob Lutz.

    Ask yourself this, Was GM better,or worse off, with Bob Lutz? IMHO, Bob changed a lot of things,for the better.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      I am with you and Dr. Olds on this.  I always thought that Lutz’s greatest attribute was that he was not a GM career guy.  He had been other places and seen things done other ways.  I have no doubt that he had a lot of negatives, but he was behind a lot of Chrysler’s renassance in the 90s and became a change agent at GM.  You all know that I am no GM booster, but the company’s product is far more appealing post-Lutz than pre-Lutz. 

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    I agree with you. The pre Lutz, cladded cars look even worse, old and out of date today. 

  • avatar

    reduced size of floor mats
    eliminated glove box and under hood lights 
    gave us a wannabe GTO that tarnished the name
    left us with LTZ this and that
    there when LeSabre killed for Lucerne
    allowed alphabet soup
    “damaged brands”
    alienated greenies
    slept thru Annual Meetings…

    and we miss him why?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Buickman- first let me apologize for my own emotionalism and harsh comments. I let myself get emotional wrapped aroung the axle, so to speak.

      Secondly, compliment you on the ideas you gave to GM.

      I hit your site, and my first thought was, God, I wish you had gotten Ron Zarrella’s job.

      I know Lutz cut a lot of standard accessories. I remember the ABS guys scrambling to make it optional on the J-N-L cars. I had been on the work group that concluded it should be standard to assure production volumes necessary to pay the development costs and to support the manufacturing process. It was all about cutting costs trying to make some money.

      I didn’t find the GTO very appealing either. It was a rush release in the effort to bring some performance back to Pontiac with the tight cash situation.
      I loved the G8 though.

    • 0 avatar

      apology accepted, and one offered in return. I can be a bit snarly at times.

      Lutz wasn’t all bad, keyholes on the passenger side really aren’t needed anymore and he did make some improvements in the cars styling for sure. again, just wasn’t the saving grace that so many hoped for. instead Bob was all about Bob and not the job.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      I’m not surprised. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of real egotists in the higher levels. I resigned myself to accepting that seems to go with the personality that gets them there. I will say that my friends who made it to high levels at Ford and Chrysler are cut from the same cloth. 

      I appreciate the apology, I pledge to do my best not to ratchet up the the intensity like that again.

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    I met and spoke with Mr Lutz at the GM  pavillion at the NADA  trade show about ten years ago right after he came on board.  We  talked for a good ten minutes  while I shared with him my concerns as a  General Manager at a Cad/ Chevy store in the bay area.  We had a great conversation and he was very receptive to what I felt needed to change at Gm and I felt a real passion in him to re invent the company .  As badly as Gm was managed at that time  I think he did as much as any one person could do to improve product and the areas of the company that he could effect change in.  Remember he was fighting an intrenched  culture built up over generations that is not unlike our federal government.  Later on thinking about meeting him I was left with the feeling that here was an honest , genuine good guy  who really cared about the industry that we were in and really wanted to be a part of GM’s revival.     I feel blessed haveing met him. 

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    Sorry- but I don’t think I could ever forgive someone who presided at a time when the size of floor mats was reduced.

  • avatar

    Bob Lutz hated plastic cladding? Could somebody please tell that to my Merkur?  :)

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Hmmm…this could get very interesting. Right now, I believe GM could use a dynamic personality like Bob Lutz, love him or hate him, he has a style all his own and brought some interesting press, to say the least. Maybe he could use his influence to re-design the automobile into something, say, like having a hood, a greenhouse and a real trunk and – oh yeah – outward visibility! What a concept. I know the “three-box” style only works for larger vehicles, but I’m selfish, and I want a real Impala, LeMans, Bonneville, Electra, DeVille, Galaxie 500, Polara, Coronet, Belvedere, et al! While I miss the “Coke bottle” styling which has come back on some vehicles, I really miss the “linear” styling before that. I’d like to see a car built which has the hood and trunk on the same level, like the early-mid 60’s Chryslers, GM’s and Fords instead of cars looking like a giant door stop. I’m waiting with baited breath for his return! I certainly don’t want Educator Dan changing his avatar, though, Leslie Nielsen is just too funny!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Not gonna happen, till Bob kicks the bucket.  I changed to my current one to Mr. Nielsen to honor him.  When Bob shuffles off this mortal coil I’ll honor him too, after that… who knows?  Maybe a cartoon avatar of a cigar smoking pig wearing a cowboy hat?  [But enough about how my ex-wife sees me {rimshot}] 

      Sorry lame joke but I couldn’t resist. 

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Not gonna happen, till Bob kicks the bucket.” Educator Dan: But when he does, you couldn’t do better than the photo above! I started laughing when I saw that. Perfect! So ironic, too. It’s just as funny as Mr. Nielsen’s photo you use now. Put that one in your back pocket for later. That’s all yours! By the way – the more jokes, the better, lame or not!

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    @Zackman- I am with you! also afraid the future does not look good for your wishes.

    Regulators are proposing 60 MPG fleet average CAFE standard.
    No Car for sale today even meets this fleet average requirement. It does not look good for much choice or affordability if these standards are required.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/15/us-autos-fuel-idUSTRE71E67A20110215

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      dr olds: I see you took Educator Dan’s advice and got an avatar! He’s a very knowledgeable guy. I remember those ads very well for the Olds “W” machines in Hot Rod magazine back in the 60’s, always made me and my buddies smile, but my personal favorite was always “Elephant Engine Ernie”! I related this on an older Curbside Classic, but someone owned a brand-new Olds Cutlass 442 who worked at a shopping center near my home. It was bright red with white roll-and-pleat factory interior, front ram air scoops under the bumpers, wide striping, wheels, et al. It had to be simply the most beautiful car in town! My dad alwys wanted an F-85, too, so I was an Olds fan second to Chevy, with the Ford Galaxie 500, third. I enjoyed your debate with Buickman over the last few days and I hope all of us at TTAC will continue to benefit from the experiences of both of you going forward!

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Thanks Zackman!
      Actually, Dan spoon fed it to me! 
      Thanks Dan!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      You’re welcome, Doctor Olds.  I must confess that for a while I had the orginal two page advertising spread with the entire “Dr. Oldsmobile gang” as my wallpaper on my laptop.  I grew up in an Oldsmobile family and have always bowed at the altar of “torque rules.” 

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    If Maximum Bob is back, can Rabid Rick be far behind?

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    This is GM, once more, trying to live in the past.  If they’re betting the future on a near-octogenarian former executive – it’s beyond lost.
     
    I don’t share the dislike of Lutz.  He was, in my view, a flawed but brilliant executive that served all the companies he worked for, well in turn.  Chrysler, especially, benefited from his input during their years on a roll in the 1990s.
     
    But he’s old, with all the baggage that entails.  Lee Iacocca isn’t coming back to resuscitate Chrysler.  And Lutz won’t be able to do much for GM that hasn’t been done already.
     
    Both were brilliant in their own way; both were flawed; and as both got older, their flaws overshadowed their brilliance.

    • 0 avatar

      well said and agreed except that he was there when they killed the best selling, highest quality full size car in America…the LeSabre. one of the dumbest moves ever made by GM, unless one understands that it was a choice influenced by Dr Olds’ Illuminati brothers who wanted to cease unionized production in Fliint MI. leading to an eventual pre-plannd BK that divested them of environmental liability, pension and health care obligations, and simultaneously allowed them to rob independent businessmen of their livelihoods and hand operational cash flow to favored friends. ah but I digress….come ‘n and get me Doc, you haven’t changed. I see thru the attempted back door veils….

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Ronnie- I retired November 1, 2008. With two weeks vacation left, last day of work was 2 weeks earlier, the week the auto industry collapsed. DenverMike- I meant just the incremental increased cost to add the Z06 and ZR1 options to the Corvette line, and  that is just a guess based on statements about the Cad CTS-V models.  I am not sure how many Corvettes it takes to breakeven. I may not be right to say Corvette is still very profitable, in fact. The volumes were around 30,000 a year when the program was labelled “very profitable”. I think volumes are less than half that now, so profit is undoubtedly down, too. I have noticed the prices of GS models are a lot higher, and think it is pretty popular. A lot of words to say, I don’t really know for sure!  

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Buickman- I really am not a union fan. If I were King, I would have stopped, or at least reigned in the union. Too much power to impose unsustainable costs, too little support for maximizing quality and cost results. The system seems to promote mediocrity by eliminating opportunity to earn reward for hard work. This is not to slam the many hard working and dedicated UAW employees who just want to do a good job, like goood employees everywhere. Most have a work ethic as good as any Salary folks. Better than some. I feel a lot better about their agreement to the break through contract of 2007. It is the enabler for current profits.
        
      You know I reject the notion that there was a plan to go bankrupt! Delphi was spun off years ago because it was not profitable, the same reason Ford spun off Visteon. Ask Obama’s auto task force why they threw Delphi salaried pensioners to the PBGC despite the plan being around 90% funded (according to my Delphi friends and relatives). That was not a GM move.
      Nor was Delphi management’s decision to eliminate salary retirement health care years ago.
       
      GM went bankrupt the old fashioned way, they simply lost all the money!
      That is what happens when costs exceed revenues over a long period of time. Fascinating your claim that it was pre-planned given Wagoner’s public resistance to it. I suppose you will say that was an act just to fool us.

      Bankruptcy means there is no money left. Obligations can not be fulfilled without the money.

      Now, who are these favored friends? 

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Put a muzzle on him this time.

  • avatar
    nevets248

    Somewhere, the one-handed typists @ GM Inside News are wiping off their keyboards/monitors, and Global Insight’s Rebecca Lindland is changing her underwear.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States