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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.

The Inside Story!

“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.