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GM's Bob Lutz To Retire in '09, Moves To Senior Advisor Role For Now


Bob Lutz and 50 Cent

Bob Lutz and 50 Cent

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Today GM announced that Robert A. Lutz, 76-year-old GM Vice Chairman for Global Product Development and visionary behind breakthrough vehicles like the Pontiac Solstice, will retire at the conclusion of 2009. In the meantime, effective April 1, he will serve GM as Vice Chairman and Senior Advisor. In this new role, Lutz will give input into GM global design and product initiative, continuing to report to Wagoner.

GM's board of directors elected Thomas G. Stephens to step into Lutz' role, serving as the new Vice Chairman for Global Product Development effective April 1 of 2009. Currently, the 60-year-old Stephens serves as Executive Vice President for Global Powertrain and Global Quality.

2009 Pontiac Solstice Street Edition

2009 Pontiac Solstice Street Edition

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Stephens will continue to have a hand in GM's global powertrain activities; GM also announced a restructuring of its global powertrain group to integrate its activities into respective GM global functions. Stephens responsibilities' will be manifold: global powertrain engineering, global design, product engineering, and program management.

GM's moves to streamline its management functions are emblematic of its attempts to trim costs and present Congress and the American people with a more viable company deserving of tax dollars and federal support.

Of Lutz' impending departure, Wagoner said: “Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001 and he’s added to that by leading the creation of a string of award-winning vehicles for GM during his time here. His 46 years of experience in the global automotive business have been invaluable to us. I’ve personally learned a great deal from Bob and have very much enjoyed the time we’ve worked together."

Wagoner assures us that Stephens has a "passion for great products and vast knowledge of advanced propulsion." Here's hoping he's as much of a car guy as Lutz, and continues to shake up the GM bureaucracy to produce great, competitive new vehicles for the struggling giant.

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Comments (4)
  1. "Great career"

    The recent car reviews of GM shows that his records for improving the product of GM was good. That may be the reason why he has been given more responsibility.
     
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  2. "He brought back cars to GM"

    The Solstice is only one piece of the equation. Yes, between the Solstice, Opel GT, Saturn Sky, GTO (whether you find it borring or not), Pontiac G8, trully competitive Corvette (finally!), Pontiac CTS, there is a lot more excitement from GM. But the real success story is the return of design at GM: the new Buicks, Chevys, Caddies are absolutely stunning, and while it may take years for GM to regain some of its lost customers, the results are there. Great Job Bob! Merci!
     
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  3. "Sad day for GM"

    Lets hope GM doesn't go back to its bad old ways. Lutz did a lot to refocus GM into a car company not just some amorphus corporate entity making widgets. He brought back style but also focus. We are now just seeing his decisions come to the fore. I really hope it continues after he goes.
    Job well done Bob, you should be proud of your achievements.
     
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  4. "He will be missed"

    I am happy that Wagoner brought him on to bring back design and exorcise badge engineering at GM. Without him, I don't think we would have seen Opels in the guise of Saturns or Holdens in the guise of Pontiacs in the States. I hope that Ed Welburn of Aztec fame and crew can keep the Lutz magic going. In my opinion, he should be succeeding Wagoner as Chairman. Mr. Lutz is stepping down in the face of Federal intervention to save the industry. This intervention could impact his salary. For his remaining time with GM, I wish that he would be less stubborn in a few areas (e.g., clean fuel efficient diesel technology)and push for more change. For instance, he should push to perfect vehicles such as the Chevy Malibu. While it it good, it is not to the level of a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, VW Passat, or VW Jetta in a number of areas despite the awards sitting on the mantle for it. Where is the rear seat center headrest, the locking fuel filler door, passenger assist grips, full size spare tire, two-mode hybrid engine, fuel efficient turbodiesel engine, and/or precise electric steering? Also, Hummer could be profitable with innovation, particularly with the H3 and derivatives, with a weight reduction program of about 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, time in the wind tunnel to get the drag co-efficient down, and use of a twin turbo 4 cylinder clean diesel engine to get the fuel economy rating into a respectable range (e.g., 25 or better in city and 36 or better on the highway) while retaining the torque necessary to haul. The slop in the steering and handling could be corrected by the Corvette Team in Bowling Green or on the track in Germany. All of this could be used to create a smaller H4 on the Theta or Delta platform as well as making the H2 more marketable. This could have been done long ago and would have made the division easier to unload.
     
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