Is Bob Lutz the world’s coolest 76-year old? GM’s product supremo has long been one of the car game’s most charismatic characters, and although his views on global warming hardly endear him to the environmental lobby – or, indeed, many other senior industry execs – he still relishes grappling with the formidable challenges of kicking GM’s product strategy into shape at an age when most of his contemporaries are happier snoozing under a blanket.
A chance to interview him at the unveiling of Saab’s 9-X concept gave me a fascinating chance to get close to one of the industry’s biggest fish – and one of the sharpest minds I’ve ever stood next to. You can watch the video by clicking here - but just one fact first. Immediately before I interviewed him he was speaking to a German TV crew, and I watched his animated conversation from a distance wondering why he was being asked so many questions when he would clearly need to be either dubbed or subtitled for the audience to understand him. It was only when I got closer that I realised he was already speaking in fluent German – and I remembered that before GM, Chrslyer and Ford he was once on the board of BMW.
Now try to name another senior American car exec with anything like Lutz’s breadth of experience: I can’t.