Why oh why is General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson pulling dinosaur Bob Lutz out of retirement and reinstating him as vice-chairman? Let’s ignore the fact that Lutz doesn’t believe man is responsible for global warming and calls talk of climate action as “a crock of shit.” But has it occurred to Fritz that Lutz, like former CEO Rick Wagoner, was one of the most powerful executives at GM during its demise into bankruptcy? Hell, why not bring back Wagoner then?
Lutz will be “responsible for all creative elements of products and customer relationships,” according to a GM release. “GM’s brands, marketing, advertising, and communications will report to Lutz for consistent messaging and results.”
No disrespect to Lutz, who certainly has a skills set that could be of some use to GM. He was the driving force behind GM’s Volt, though only pursued it with vigour after Tesla Motors came on the scene. But he’s also a guy who has dissed hybrids as making no sense, and most of his past projects have been about building more powerful, gas-guzzling vehicles, not smaller more fuel-efficient models. Lutz, 77, is arguably out of touch with the new generation of car-buyers that the new GM must tap if it hopes to regain its footing in the automotive marketplace.
By bringing Bob Lutz back, GM risks falling into the same trap that put it in hot water and eventually plunged it into bankruptcy. Since the U.S. government owns a majority of GM, I wonder what its position is on the rehiring of Lutz. What GM needs is some youth in the driver’s seat and executives that have the vision necessary to reinvent the company, not a climate-change denying auto-industry dinosaur that may end up doing more harm than good.
Personally, I’m looking forward to Magna International’s entry into the electric-car market, including its partnership with Ford and future partnerships that could bring electric-vehicle manufacturing to Canada.