Bob Lutz, General Motors’ outspoken product boss, will retire from the company at the end of this year, GM has announced.
The 76-year-old Lutz, known for his straight-talking style, will be succeeded by Tom Stephens, currently a GM vice president for global powertrain and global quality.
Lutz will step down from his position as vice chairman of global product development on 1 April to become a vice chairman and “senior advisor” for the rest of the year. He will retire fully in December.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner paid tribute to Lutz. “Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001,” said Wagoner.
"He’s added to that by leading the creation of a string of award-winning vehicles for GM during his time here.
"His 46 years of experience in the global automotive business have been invaluable to us. I’ve personally learned a great deal from Bob and have very much enjoyed the time we’ve worked together.”
Lutz has worked in the car industry for 46 years, holding key posts at GM, Chrysler, BMW and Ford. He began his career at GM in 1963, having flown fighter jets in the US Marine Corps since 1954.
Perhaps Lutz’s most notorious episode occurred last year, when he was quoted as describing global warming as “a crock of shit”.
He defended his comments, saying: "My thoughts on what has or hasn't been the cause of climate change have nothing to do with the decisions I make to advance the cause of General Motors."