Bye Bye: Bob Lutz retires (again)

Bob Lutz has finally pulled the pin.

DETROIT – General Motors Vice Chairman Robert A. Lutz will retire effective May 1, 2010, capping a 47-year career in the global auto industry that included senior leadership positions at four of the world’s leading automakers.
Lutz, 78, rejoined GM September 1, 2001, as the head of product development, and has led the company’s resurgence in developing great cars and trucks. He also worked at BMW, Chrysler and Ford.
“The influence Bob Lutz has had on GM’s commitment to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles will last for years to come,” GM CEO and Chairman Ed Whitacre said. “I, along with many other men and women in GM and throughout the industry, have greatly benefited from his passion, wisdom and guidance.”
Lutz said he decided to retire now in part because hot-selling vehicles like the Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac SRX, GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Camaro, along with the growing strength of GM’s four brands, prove that a product-focused mindset inside the company is in place for the long term.
“I can confidently say that the job I came here to do more than nine years ago is now complete – the team I have been fortunate to lead has far exceeded my expectations,” Lutz said.

There’s more at GM Media, but that’s enough.
Goodbye, Bob. You were a media guy’s dream but a Saab guy’s nightmare, to begin with, at least.
I’ve got it on pretty good authority from a couple of sources that Lutz was the main man behind several of Saab’s non-releases of product early in the last decade.
I guess the one saving’s grace is that Saab got another chance, which ended up producing a product line that saw them as an attractive asset for Spyker and others during 2009.
Enjoy your retirement.
ADDENDUM
I just added this in comments, but feel it should be added here, too, in the interests of balance….
Bob did do a lot of good things for GM and his time there was worth what they paid him. The over all lift in GM quality under his watch is real.
His quotes, whilst funny a lot of the time, were also on the mark a lot of the time. In fact, if I were a GM guy, I’d probably love him and feel sad today. But I’m not a GM guy.
Bob’s place in Saab’s history will be glossed over everywhere else. But not here.

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