• Jun 13, 2011
Bob Lutz is in The Wall Street Journal this week, and the former Vice Chairman at General Motors discusses what he sees as the reason for the automaker's previous failings. His illustrative example? A company Christmas card. Sounds weird, but Mr. Lutz's example hit home nicely.

Lutz tells the story of Cadillac then-boss Jim Roche, and a drawn-out mission to get the Wreath and Crest's Christmas card just right. After countless versions, a simple painting of a boy with a sled turned into a Cadillac driving to a mansion along a snow-covered drive.

The point? Lutz's example shows in glaring detail the level of corporate waste and inefficiency that characterized GM through much of the post-war period. That culture, and the lack of an iron-fisted leader, are what Lutz blames for dragging the company down. Check out Lutz's full thoughts here.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lutz FTW.
      Al Terego
      • 3 Years Ago
      "HAAAAAAAAAAA-DO-KEN!!!"
      Nicolas Rudloff
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bob Lulz.
      The Angry Intern
      • 3 Years Ago
      That picture is just begging for a caption contest
        Al Terego
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Angry Intern
        "....so then the goatse guy showed up and I..........."
          Al Terego
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Al Terego
          ..BTW, DO NOT google goatse if you're at work and don't know the reference.
        the.ting
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Angry Intern
        "And I grabbed his balls like this!"
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Amurrrican
        • 3 Years Ago
        Pipe down, Laser! What have you done in your pathetic, useless life to even warrant a sentence worth writing?
        Lemon
        • 3 Years Ago
        Lutz was responsible for some of the best cars at GM recently. The downward sprial started long before his involvement. It was a good thing a car guy callrd the shots for a while
      mmm
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lutz is a putz !
      DSmithee
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maximum Bob--full of crap as usual. I blame YOU, sir, for GM's decline.
      the.ting
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't know if a iron fisted leader is the answer either. Nissan/Renault has one along with a culture of fear that goes with it. Mid and lower management are so afraid to make decisions, they make none at all. They constantly triple and quadruple guess what their leader wants, burn up valuable time and resources and end up nowhere until someone from higher up sticks his/her neck out and make a decision. It takes more than an iron fisted leader. It takes one with guts, vision and knowing when trust others to make decisions.
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @the.ting
        Nissan consistently has one of the highest profit margins in the industry and the fastest global market share growth. Nissan/Renault together are the 3rd largest automaker. Ghosn hands off major management decisions to COO's at the two companies- which didn't work out so well with the Renault espianage debacle. I don't think your representation is very accurate.
        the.ting
        • 3 Years Ago
        @the.ting
        I wasn't really talking about profit margins, but more about day to day inefficiencies. And, my insight is more based on the marketing side and how marketing decisions were made.
      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      But the Caddy driving through Snow ended up a better product than the boy on a sled. So what's the problem?
      Alex
      • 3 Years Ago
      Retired CEO Bob is hard at work again blaming someone else. A passionate auto enthusiast full of futuristic ideas, but powerless against the "bean counters" and I'm sure evil Wall Street sharks who twisted his arm as well demanding maximum profitability. And so much pride about the cost of materials comparable to 3-series. I'm not a fan of the current 3-series nav screen visor, but even that obvious afterthought looks better than any outdated GM dash. So maybe materials never been the problem? Maybe what you actually do with materials matters? C'mon, what'd you expect from an aging baby boomer who first blames the bean counters and then hails Solstice and PT Cruiser as successful modern designs. It was a miracle we got Opel GT here as Saturn Sky, not just the rounded Solstice looking straight from some 1996-97 auto show where it was displayed alongside equally rounded Taurus. BTW GM' most refined vehicle: Corvette still has oval dash vents. I think at this point American GM designers proved their complete impotence. Luckily GM happens to own foreign companies like Opel and Holden. I wonder when it dawns on them they can fire all their American designers and simply retool American factories to stamp Euro body panels for the entire GM lineup instead of a few rebadged models. Bean counters will be happy too: lower R&D costs.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alex
        [blocked]
        carfan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alex
        one can read all kinds of idiotic comments on this forum, but ,wow, yours is the stupidest in a long time. That American designers are are impotent is just totally moronic...American designers are the leading designers in the world after the italians. With all the digital information at your fingertips, to write such an idiotic comment is unforgivable
      Brex
      • 3 Years Ago
      "A Chevrolet Malibu's material cost is within a couple percent of that of a BMW 3-Series." If that's true, it's shocking.
        JaredN
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Brex
        Bob Lutz worked at BMW and at GM. So I'd bet that he's got a pretty good handle on the material cost of both the 3-series and Malibu.
        Evan McMiller
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Brex
        he would know, so I'm guessing he's right. Unbelievable. And that's the material...the labor is much more expensive. Any wonder they can't build decent cars for the price they charge? Much less a proper BMW/MB/Audi competitor.
          You guy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Evan McMiller
          Also... BMW is robbing you.
      You guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think he's showing what UAW does to auto manufacturers in the photo.
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