Bob Lutz is one of the most experienced and high-profile auto executives in the world. Having been in the business for almost 50 years, he has left an indelible mark on all three of the big US automakers — most recently GM, where he reinvigorated its previously undistinguished vehicle lineup.
Although known for building powerful, muscular automobiles, Bob Lutz is also a forward-thinking realist who has stated that the electrification of the automobile is inevitable. He was behind the development of the first clean car, Chevrolet's Volt, a battery powered electric car that can be charged by plugging into a home electrical outlet.
Bob's upcoming book is Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership, available June 2013. In this management manifesto, Bob profiles the leaders that made the strongest impression on him throughout his forty-seven year career.
Known as Detroit’s "ultimate car guy," Bob is passionate in his desire to make his automobiles the best in the world, with unparalleled styling, performance, quality, and technical excellence.
He has championed the ascendancy of designers and engineers over the industry’s bean counters and MBAs, whom he feels bear much of the responsibility for Detroit’s downfall.
He has been the force behind the renaissance of fresh, bold designs and performance engineering in US cars — such as the Pontiac Solstice, Cadillac CTS, the re-designed Chevrolet Malibu, and the Dodge Viper.
Bob’s current book is Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business. The book is centered around the car industry so familiar to Bob. It’s about what happened to America’s competitiveness and why. Leaders who are predominantly motivated by financial reward, who bake that reward into the business plan and then manipulate the variables to hit the numbers. But Bob maintains it’s the enterprise that is focused on excellence and on providing superior value who will see revenue materialize and grow and be rewarded with good profits.
Car Guys was chosen for Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Best Business Book of 2011 long list.
Before joining GM, Bob is credited with spearheading the turnaround of the then-hamstrung Chrysler Corporation in the 1990s.
Bob Lutz’s knowledge of automobiles is matched only by his organizational know-how. He is celebrated for his legendary ability to manage the design and development of new, spirited vehicles in the face of bureaucratic opposition and organizational inertia.
He is also the author of an acclaimed book on his management philosophy that, as you would expect from Bob, challenges the conventional wisdom of the executive suite:
Guts: 8 Laws of Business from One of the Most Innovative Business Leaders of our Time
"I’ve known Bob Lutz for over thirty-five years, and Guts reflects all the qualities that have made him one of the great car guys of our generation. As always, he tells it like it is, and that’s what makes his book such a compelling read."
— Lee Iacocca, former Chairman, Chrysler Corporation
"Bob has always been a charismatic leader, but he became a true businessman when he joined Chrysler. Guts is typical Lutz–it’s controversial, thought-provoking and, in the final analysis, it makes good business sense."
— Harold "Red" Poling, retired CEO, Ford Motor Company
A breath of fresh air in an industry known for its blandness and tenuous grasp on the changing realities of its market, Bob stands out as a gifted, bold, sometimes brash, always opinionated, and successful executive. He is a contributor to Forbes magazine.
- Member, Lotus Advisory Council, the British sports car manufacturer
- Retired Vice-chairman, Global Product Development, General Motors Corporation
- Former President, Chrysler Corporation
- Former Vice President, Ford Motor Company
- Former Executive Vice President, BMW
- MBA, University of California at Berkeley
- BA, Production Management, University of California at Berkeley
- Fighter Pilot, US Marine Corps