• Apr 20th 2010 at 3:29PM
  • 29
General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz might be set to retire at the end of the month, but don't expect him to go quietly into that good night – or take up the usual trappings that a man of his age and accomplishment might normally seek out. "I don't play golf, never have never will. And secondly, I have no desire to go to Hilton Head, or Naples, Florida, or any place like that."

Fair enough. So what's in store for the auto industry icon? Well, he's working on new business book, and there will be a supporting tour to follow its publication. Beyond that, he tells Autoblog that he's going to be embarking on the lecture circuit with the Leigh Speakers Bureau and he might just be open to helping run another company – automotive or otherwise:
"I have had several approaches for board memberships of various companies and I'm going to be meeting with a headhunter who is a specialist in finding board members. He wants to see me, so we'll see what comes up there. As far as GM is concerned, I have had numerous requests to continue to be available for advice and counsel and occasionally review design properties and stuff like that, so I'll find a way to stay engaged."
What about going to work for another carmaker? "Now, no other automobile company has yet approached me and said 'Here's a huge wad of money, come and work for us.'" We couldn't resist a followup: "Is that an open invitation for that to happen?" Lutz laughed his trademark hoarse laugh and said wryly, "It depends on the size of the wad of money."

Interested in hearing more Lutz gems? Check out the newest installment of the Autoblog Podcast, where the good chairman sits in with us for an hour-long career retrospective. We'll have the complete show up for download or online listening available later this afternoon.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree, Chrysler should hire him and Wolfgang Bernhard back.

      Lutz arguably had the most success turning Chrysler into a product powerhouse in the 90s, more so than at Ford and GM.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Sea Urchin:

        I definitely get what you're saying. The G8 came out during rough patch (fuel prices), and without any/much publicity. The Solstice and Sky were hampered by a lack of development (top and trunk, anyone?). The Opel-based Saturns were too expensive to import, and were, as a result, impossible to make any money off of. Definitely, those were all strategic gaffes, with some being forseeable.

        The flops have been well publicized, and when you're the guy calling the shots, it's ultimately your responsibility. However, that ultimate responsibility can't just apply to products that lacked commercial success. We shouldn't forget that Lutz was also equally responsible for the success of several other platforms like the GMT900, Lambda, Epsilon, Sigma, and Zeta (though, sadly, not in G8 form).

        • 5 Years Ago
        Lutz- a guy with vision? A vision of what? Christ allmighty...
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 from me.

        Maximum Bob gets a lot of hate around here, but I think it's largely undeserved.

        He's been in the industry forever, and he's had more successes than failures. He's had his share of verbal faux pas over the years, but that goes part and parcel with him being so outspoken.

        Overall, I think that Lutz will go down in history as a car guy with vision - love him or hate him, at least you know that the guy operates with a sense of purpose. Not quite Harley Earl, but certainly better than guys like Iacocca.
        • 5 Years Ago
        TriShield, I would like to agree. It would be great for enthusiasts, but I think Bob and Ferdinand would alone make a pretty dynamic duo. I don't doubt Ferdinand as a business man, but he will need help with American perspective, and Bob will keep Chrysler in headlines.

        I could see them bickering, but for the brand and consumers it seems like a win-win.
        • 5 Years Ago
        my response:

      • 5 Years Ago
      He should go fix Chrysler.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Like he fixed GM?

        It's interesting to see how the guy in charge of the sinking ship is seen as someone that keeps ships afloat!

        Very interesting!

        Here are some possible book titles!

        "How to make the largest car company in the world fail"
        "How to turn a #1 spot into #2"
        "Behind the Bailouts"
        "Ship Sinking 101"
        "How to sink a ship, tank a company, take a bailout, not have any economic foresight whatsoever and still have people on Autoblog applaud me for succeeding".

        I like the last one!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Update: I actually do think Lutz could turn Chrysler around! He's not an idiot by any means! He's just not someone I applaud for successes though! It's a shame too because he ran GM fairly well!

        If he were a quarterback in your favorite football team and he took the team from #1 to complete failure, you'd want his arse traded! That's what I'm saying.....
        • 5 Years Ago

        Are you somehow implying that that would NOT be an awesome idea?!
        • 5 Years Ago
        What exactly has Lutz done to show that he would know how to "fix" Chrysler?

        I can see it now..."Let's cram a V8 into a Fiat 500 and call it a Dodge Demon." :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I know exactly what Bob oughta do, and that picture's clue:

      Maximum Bob needs to buy the Kappa tooling from Liquidation Motors, and start building Kappas - massively improved Kappas. Lighten them up, maybe some aluminum construction. Stop making 'em so darned cheap. Spend another $5K building 'em, and charge another 10. Buy nice motors for them from around the world. And let some smart chassis guys make a real sports car of it.

      Aim to build, say, no more than 10,000 of them a year, and offer huge variety finishing and accessories. And like Mini, each one of them would be ordered by its buyer.

      Marketing? Figure out some angle.

      That'd be fun. Really fun.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's " . . . gentle into that good night", Einstein.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I respect is abilities/track record as an auto exec., but I bet this ego maniac is a nightmare to spend any time with. Just sayin'.

      If he is married, his wife is praying that he stays employed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chrysler needs him back,since the germens through him out,maybe the Italians will take him back, if only he would go back.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Team up with John McCain. 150 years experience between the two.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ROFL - Dude I just laughed so hard! +10
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 better than the clowns there now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      workalcholic isnt a word for this guy..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe he could enter politics.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think Chrysler needs Lutz back, if he was behind good products in the 90s( LH cars, neon and the OMG viper) compare them with the K( for krap) car derivative of the 80s and think. Although he had flops in GM( Saturn revamp, G8, gto, kappa cars), those were cars that at least were desirable ( though they had some fails in execution), his victories in GM ( malibu anyone?) are saving the company right now. So best wishes and keep going Bob!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lutz, Tim Allen, Jay Leno
      ken block travis pastrana

      3 of those 5 should be the hosts for top gear america
      • 5 Years Ago
      so long bob, thanks for reminding us that mediocrity is an apt balance point for profits. thanks for skimping out anmd using a $7 part instead of a $14 part. Chances are you'd have to over-price that part change as an upgrade and send that $400 profit margin for the part to the consumer. Thanks for protecting us from having better quality.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think you're giving Lutz too much credit.

        I don't think the type of de-contenting that you're talking about happened at the level of "Chairman of North American Development". From 2001 to present, I would say that GM has taken strides to make many of their product offerings class competitive. I would say that there's a good case to say that reliability and quality have risen significantly in that time, as well.

        Definitely, your core point is valid.... and GM still has a ways to go, but I think Lutz did an okay job.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ughh this makes me sick.

        The fossil is "retiring" but "open to future career opportunities".

        Its called "RETIREMENT" for a reason!

        Stay down, and watch your damn Price is Right!
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