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Lutz Has Six Months to Fix GM’s Marketing

Un-retired exec plans to move with urgency or step aside.

by on Jul.14, 2009

"Why stop?" askes 77-year-old Bob Lutz, who has signed on for another stint with General Motors, this time running the automaker's marketing operations.  But he cautions he has just six months to prove he's up to that task.

"Why stop?" askes 77-year-old Bob Lutz, who has signed on for another stint with General Motors, this time running the automaker's marketing operations. But he cautions he has just six months to prove he's up to that task.

Move or get out of the way.  That seems to be the mantra for Bob Lutz, the 77-year-old General Motors Vice Chairman who was planning to retire as head of product development, but has “re-upped” with the post-bankruptcy automaker as the new global boss of marketing.

GM has some serious challenges ahead of it, Lutz tells TheDetroitBureau.com, including a “reputation lag” with potential buyers who, he admits, often think that “if you want decent cars, you want to turn the Germans or Japanese.”

While there is plenty of evidence that the situation is changing – and quickly – Lutz says it is difficult to get the message out in a fractured media world.  So the automaker will have to move with a similar level of haste, using “the social media, the Internet, You Tube and such.”

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“If six months from now, things aren’t really different,” in terms of the way GM communicates with the market, says the former Marine pilot, “then I will have failed.  I might not become the first octogenarian automotive executive, after all.”

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