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McBlog: Bob Lutz and the New World Order

We're number on! Says who?

by on Nov.07, 2011

Bob Lutz is back and still shooting from the lip.

Anyone reading or most certainly writing about cars is delighted that Bob Lutz hasn’t gone gently into that good afternoon of retirement after all. Consultant to GM renewed. (Insultant to all deserving of it, if the Lutzian manner hasn’t changed.) Bob was always the go-to guy if a deadline loomed and no lively quotes sprang from a reporter’s notes.

Bob continues to swerve off course when it comes to what is officially OK to talk about. Wow, truly inside info beyond the press release. And he is sure to talk about it in more colorful terms that most. He’s always a car guy; he’s always his own guy. I join the gang that’s glad he’ll be around.

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That said I take the opportunity to disagree with what he said in an interview with a German writer.(I read what only was translated into English not being bilingual as Bob is.)

Bob told the German journalist that the top three car companies in the world were now GM, the Volkswagen group, and the Hyundai group.


He’s Baaack! Bob Lutz Returns to GM as Advisor

Maximum Bob will rejoin maker in part-time capacity.

by on Sep.02, 2011

Maximum Bob reporting for duty.

Old soldiers don’t die, and in the case of Capt. Robert A. Lutz, USMC-Ret., they don’t even fade away.

“Maximum Bob,” as many have come to call him, will be rejoining General Motors as a part-time consultant and those who know him say that despite his 79 years of age, the outspoken executive is planning on a long stay.

Until early in 2010 GM’s vice chairman and “car czar,” Lutz has spent more than 40 years in the auto industry working with a whos-who of automakers, the list including not only GM but Ford, Chrysler and BMW.  He also had a brief stint as chairman of battery maker Exide and, after being nudged into a semi-retirement by former GM Chairman Ed Whitacre, Lutz has served on a variety of boards, including British automaker Lotus, while also penning his second book, “Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business.”

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In a terse release, GM noted, “Lutz will be available to executives on a part-time consultancy basis effective immediately. He brings a wealth of experience built over the course of more than 40 years in the industry, including two stints at GM.”

The first began in 1963, shortly after he left the Marine Corps., where he served as a pilot – beginning a life-long addition to flying that he nourishes today with a small personal fleet of jets and helicopters.


Why Bob Lutz is Ready to Return to GM

Former “Car Czar” reportedly being wooed to serve as advisor.

by on Feb.17, 2011

Captain Bob Lutz (ret.) at your service.

He’s back.  Or, at least, Bob Lutz may be soon.

Long past the age when most old auto execs – and soldiers – fade away, the 79-year-old one-time Marine pilot and former General Motors Vice Chairman is reportedly being wooed to return to the automaker, though in a limited advisory roll.

It would be the latest turn in a career that has more zigs and zags than most.

But why would Lutz want to make yet another comeback?

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Lutz began his career with GM a half century ago, but over the decades he has served with a variety of competitors, including BMW, Ford and Chrysler.  In fact, he “retired” for the first time shortly after the so-called “merger of equals” between Chrysler and what was then Daimler-Benz.

But as he proven time and again, retirement is simply not a way of life for the Swiss-born executive.


Lutz is Already Back

What next for former GM (and Chrysler, Ford and BMW) exec?

by on May.25, 2010

He's back! Somehow we never really expected "Maximum" Bob Lutz to leave.

Well that didn’t take long.

While he said he planned to retire to write up more of his memoirs – and log some hours in his Czech-made fighter jet — Bob Lutz has has found a few moments to take on another job.

The former General Motors vice chairman has joined the board of directors of Transonic Combustion Inc., a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan start-up focusing on high-efficiency fuel injection technology.

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“Bob brings to Transonic’s board of directors a lifetime of automotive experience and a passion for personal transportation,” said Brian Ahlborn, president and CEO, Transonic Combustion. “He joins our board at just the right time, as our technology development and customer traction are progressing rapidly.  As our mission is to bring significantly improved efficiency to internal combustion engines, Bob will clearly insist that this is done with the same excellence that has characterized his career.”


Shooting From the Lip: Bob Lutz Says Farewell

His legacy will be GM's future.

by on Apr.21, 2010

Will retirement end the 50-year career of "Maximum" Bob Lutz, or just serve as a starting point for new ventures?

Old soldiers don’t die.  In some cases, they don’t even fade away.

Officially, Bob Lutz is about to retire, ending a nearly decade-long run with General Motors, and close to half a century in the auto industry.  But as he demonstrated during a “farewell” interview with, the 79-year-old former Marine pilot isn’t going out quietly.  Indeed, one is left to wonder whether Lutz is going at all.

Certainly, the impact of his tenure as “car czar” will be felt for some time at General Motors.  The dramatic restructuring of the automaker’s product development system has produced an array of hot-selling models at a company that had, when Lutz first arrived, in late 2001, become bloated, inefficient and content with mediocrity.

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“Old (and) ossified,” is the way he describes the General Motors that was, rather rapidly, heading towards bankruptcy.  It was a place where the head of styling had almost no say over the company’s designs, and where top management was convinced that cars could be designed and marketed the same way as toothpaste and shaving cream.