• Apr 30th 2010 at 7:57PM
  • 23
Today is Bob Lutz' last day at General Motors, and as such, the industry's iconic car guy has written out a long farewell to his readers over at the company's Fastlane Blog. In his final post, Lutz says he's confident that the company he helped usher back from life support is on the right path. Why? Because he says that each of the GM brands now has a solid product line up under its belt that's capable of competing against the best the auto world has to offer.
Lutz says that GM has finally let its designers out from under the corporate thumb, and that move is beginning to pay dividends in the look of vehicles like the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Malibu and Equinox. Combine that with ever-improving quality and lower-than ever inventories, and on the whole, Lutz says his company is beginning to get its legs back under it.

Yes, it does appear GM is on the mend, but the company and the industry as a whole is going to be a lot less interesting without Lutz around. You can read the full piece here.

[Source: Fastlane Blog]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      His automotive contribution over the years will be legendary and his persona was colorful.

      I would like to see Mr. Lutz relax a bit to smell the flowers (petrol) and fire up the car collection and the MIG jet an terrorize the SE Michigan countryside. Then he should get a part time gig doing commentary.

      Imagine his commentary without the corporate shackles!
      AutoBlog are you listening?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Lutz says he's confident that the company he helped usher back from life support is on the right path."

      Did he usher it back from life support after he ushered it into the ground a few years before?
      • 5 Years Ago
      One thing Lutz did for GM was ditch GM's horrible, cheap, tawdry interiors.
      GM interiors were excellent back in the 1950s through the '70s, then became seedy.

      GM couldn't compete because its labor costs were about $1,500 to $2,000 per car, so GM had to cut quality to remain price competitive with Toyotas, Hondas, and other cars built in non-union factories.

      In addition to using old engines and transmissions, GM's switches, gauge clusters, plastics, fabrics, door panels, dashboards, etc. looked and felt like the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag.

      Lutz correctly understood that people don't want to buy cars in which they feel like poor trash--a car should make you feel rich in it. GM car interiors are much improved now, and Lutz deserves credit for that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uhh what?

        I would say that it wasn't great through the 70's....the ever famous cracking dashes when exposed to sun sure was "GM's mark of excellence"
      • 5 Years Ago
      i think its pretty obvious that bob did an amazing job

      its not about appealing to as many people as possible, its about making relatively few people want the car

      thats when you can sell cars for msrp+
      • 5 Years Ago
      And in next weeks news,
      Report: Bob Lutz coming back from retirement.

      We'll miss ya Bob!
        • 5 Years Ago
        ... with another PT Cruiser or HHR
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, I'm not a GM fan much at all, but Bob did do an incredible job. He truly is the Alan Mulally of GM and a real car guy on top of it. GM still has a little bit to go, but they are in the right direction and hopefully staying there. Goodbye Mr. Lutz. Your legacy will continue for all times.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bob will be missed, that's for sure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "It's one thing to see that Ford of Europe already had some great offerings and decide that "geez, why don't we be smart about this and bring those cars over here," and it's whole other thing to actually be part of the design stages and fight your own management to stop cheapening your products."

        I'm with you, Yaroukh, and not quite sure where the author afore comment was when all the rebadged Opels hit our shores or when GM America produced their own Opel clones....and that's not even mentioning the Holden platforms underpinning their G8 and Camaros. Don't get me wrong, I applaud GM's improvement, but to downplay Mulally's accomplishments is lame.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lutz, YOU DA MAN!!!

        You will be missed. Thank you!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Yaroukh

        Why? I would say that Lutz has done more to directly help GM than Mullaly has with Ford. It's one thing to see that Ford of Europe already had some great offerings and decide that "geez, why don't we be smart about this and bring those cars over here," and it's whole other thing to actually be part of the design stages and fight your own management to stop cheapening your products.

        Now I am not trying to downplay what Mullaly has done - clearly he's a good leader and exactly who Ford needed, but the groundwork was already layed down for him across the pond.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i think comparing him to Mulally is way off
        or did i fail to detect sarcasm?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Go back to switzerland old man, America doesn't need you
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM and success = OXYMORON. Ask GM shareholders. Lutz was just another looter in this grossly mismanaged company, collecting millions for himself while acting 'cool'. We the taxpayers are now footing the bill and will be for decades to come.

      That said I respect Ford's ongoing transformation. Ford finally "gets it." They are effectively the last remaining "BIG 1." GM, however, is going in the footprints of Chrysler and in a few years, when the current Bernanke credit bubble bursts, will be acquired by some foreign company for a dollar.
      • 5 Years Ago
      He will be missed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Once he and a few other people at GM are gon I might actually give GM a second look.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm gonna miss his quotes for this that or the other thing that seems to many so over the top. He was a car guy and hopefully his type of leadership (give the public what it wants) will last for awhile. Though I'm sure GM will hope its next outspoken personality won't be to vocal as him.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The critics are too easy on Bob.
      You never hear about the grand failure of the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky. Yes FAILURE.
      It did debut to great acclaim, for it's styling. But as is so typical of GM for the past 40 years, it was all style and no substance. In every review against it's competition, the Mazda MX5, the Solstice came in a distant second. The Edmonds reviewer, with just a bit of hyperbole, said the MX5 was "a billion times more fun to drive". The Solstice did poorly in independent performance testing by Consumer Reports; and then after a year on the market it got the Consumer Reports' dreaded "unreliable" rating. EVERY reviewer made a comment on it's interior as being "typically GM cheesy".
      It did not accelerate as fast, stop as fast or handle as nimbly as the Mazda. It's rough running engine was said to feel more like an old corn-binder than a sophisticated sports car.
      But alas, the numbers in magazine testing are mere quibbles; the grand Bob Lutz fiasco
      was to bring a car to market that COULD NOT POSSIBLY SUCCEED because (1) it had no trunk and (2) it did not have a workable convertible top. Imagine a fun-car Roadster that you could not take a weekend trip with because there was no room for even an overnight bag!!! Couldn't take a Saturday excursion to the Market because it would not transport two bags of groceries.
      AND A ROADSTER THAT YOU NEVER DRIVE OPEN-AIR BECAUSE IT'S TOO MUCH OF A HASSLE TO WORK THE CONVERTIBLE TOP ??? The Mazda MX5 top goes up and down in 2 seconds with one hand of the driver. With the Solstice/Sky you've go to stop, get out and fiddle for 15 minutes; GOOD GRIEF!!
      Bob Lutz, like so many GM execs before him for the last half Century, underestimated (and disrespected) the consumer; assuming they would lap-up GM products on styling and loyalty alone. After GM's bankruptcy, there was no place for the Solstice/Sky; or for Bob Lutz.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, this guy has a lot to say, but little knowledge of the cars he is slamming. As an owner of the Solstice GXP AND Sky Red Line (His & Hers) I can attest the car does have faults, but it does the core things of a sports car (handling, speed, etc.) very well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I wouldn't be that long winded, but I agree with your points completely. Having a "great" product lineup may benefit the company for several years to come. But, what did he do that specifically and structurally strengthen the company for the long term? Several one-hit wonders do not make an everlasting success.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Woof! Couldn't have said it much better than that!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Arborview,

        you have single handedly made the best comment I've ever seen regarding old-cronie Bob Lutz. His failures outweigh his minimal "achievements".

        He should learn to stay retired.

        Here's to after retirement!
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