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Bob Lutz Tries Retirement, Says No Thanks

Celebrated auto exec picks up yet another advisory role, his third

by on Sep.28, 2011

Alan Perriton, Bob Lutz, Kraig Higginson pose in front of VIA's Extended-Range Electric Truck

Maximum Bob is back. Again. Someone should talk to him about the definition of “retirement.”

Just weeks after General Motors announced that former Vice Chairman Bob Lutz was coming back as a consultant, VIA Motors, a Utah startup, has announced that Lutz would join the company as a consultant. Lutz also serves as an advisor to Lotus.

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VIA plans to convert existing pickup trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles into extended-range electric vehicles similar in concept to the Chevrolet Volt.

Lutz, 79, is coming on board to help raise capital for the venture and help establish partnerships with automakers, according to David West, VIA’s chief marketing officer, Automotive News reported.

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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.

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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.”

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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 TheDetroitBureau.com, 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.

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