Robert Lutz

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Robert A. "Bob" Lutz (born February 12, 1932, in Zurich, Switzerland) is the Vice Chairman of Global Product Development[1] at General Motors Corporation.


Lutz was CEO of Exide Technologies[1] until the year it filed for bankruptcy [2], and President of Chrysler Corporation, where he oversaw the development of the Dodge Viper, Plymouth Prowler and Chrysler LH platform automobiles.

He was also a Vice President at Ford Motor Company, where he led the creation of the Ford Sierra, initiated development of the original Ford Explorer and spearheaded importation of models from Ford of Europe to the United States under the short-lived Merkur brand, which had disappointing sales figures. The failure of this initiative hurt his political position at Ford and may have contributed to his departure for Chrysler. He was a frequent internal political rival of eventual Ford CEO Red Poling.

Prior to working at Ford he served as Executive Vice President of sales at BMW[1] for three years, and he takes some credit in the development of the BMW 3-Series. He is one of few senior automotive executives with experience in both hemispheres and more than one major manufacturer. He joined BMW after eight years with GM in Europe.

Before assuming his present post at GM, he was an investor in the Cunningham C7 project, which endeavored to develop an American-built exotic automobile, or "supercar".

While at General Motors, Lutz championed the import of the Holden Monaro to the United States as the Pontiac GTO. Other cars such as the Cadillac Sixteen Concept, Saturn Sky Pontiac Solstice, Pontiac G8, Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave, Cadillac Converj Concept, Cadillac CTS Coupe Concept, Chevrolet Camaro Concept, Chevrolet Camaro (production Version) Chevy Beat, Groove and Trax Concept Studies, and 2010 Buick Lacrosse, Chevrolet Equinox, and Cadillac SRX are said to be Lutz initiatives. Similar to Chrysler with its Prowler and Viper, General Motors now has models that were produced more for public relations and advertisement of the brand rather than to be volume selling money makers.

A former aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, Lutz authored the management and leadership book, Guts, which the dust jacket describes as "a maverick's primer on the business philosophy that revolutionized Chrysler ".

When Lutz became chairman of GM North American development in 2001 one of the first things he stated was that his new 500 hp car was going to save General Motors. His full compensation in 2008 is estimated at $6.9 million.[3]

Lutz maintains a blog called Fastlane that is hosted at GM Blogs.

Career Chronology

  • US Marine aviator 1954 to 1959 (remained in reserves until 1965)
  • General Motors -- 1963 to 1971, in GM Europe
  • BMW -- 1971 to 1974
  • Ford -- 1974 to 1986
    • Chairman of Ford of Europe (early 1980s)
    • Executive Vice President of Ford International Operations (beginning about 1982)
    • Vice President in charge of Ford Truck Operations (beginning about 1985)
    • Member, Ford Board of Directors (1982-1986)
  • Executive at Chrysler Corporation, (1986-1998) initially primarily responsible for product development; subsequently president and chief operating officer, and then vice chairman.
  • CEO of Exide -- 1998 to 2002
  • General Motors -- 2002 to present


Lutz received a bachelor's degree in Production Management in 1961 followed by an MBA in 1962, both from UC Berkeley. He is a member of the board of the Marine Corps University Foundation and the Marine Military Academy.

Automotive electrification

Robert Lutz has said that "the electrification of the automobile is inevitable" [4].


He is also known as a collector of classic automobiles and military jets. Among other aircraft, he owns and pilots a Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet in German Luftwaffe colors[5]. Further, he maintains a collection of motorcycles that include a Suzuki Hayabusa, a BMW K1200RS, a BMW K1200S, a BMW R1100S, and a BMW K-1.

Lutz has expressed skepticism on the issue of global warming, and on one occasion referred to it as "a total crock of shit."[6]

His younger brother, Mark, is a retired economics professor.

See also


External links