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Car guys vs. bean counters : the battle for the soul of American business /

In 2001, General Motors hired Lutz out of retirement with a mandate to save the company by making great cars again. As vice chairman, he launched a war against the penny-pinching number-crunchers who ran the company by the bottom line, and reinstated a focus on creativity, design, and cars and truck...

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Main Author: Lutz, Robert A.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Portfolio/Penguin, 2011
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Review by Library Journal Review

Lutz shares his philosophy on running a successful business, which he developed during 47 years in auto manufacturing, including leadership positions with each of the Big Three firms. Lutz blames Detroit's steady decline on overdependence on bean counters and the lack of "his type" (designers) in auto manufacturing. He asserts that the Big Three should return control to the "product guys" like him, of course. Lutz provides an interesting inside perspective on GM and his struggles with high labor costs, rising gas prices, and model design flaws. Expectedly, Lutz sees a silver lining in GM's emergence from the 2008 bankruptcy, while serving up a nostalgic view of a bygone Detroit when GM had annual sales revenue exceeding that of many European countries. AudioFile's Best Voices of the Century winner Norman Dietz provides a steady-paced, documentary-style approach to this intriguing material. Lutz's comments will appeal to anyone interested in the fascinating world of auto manufacturing, especially boomers who grew up driving Detroit iron. Also recommended for university libraries supporting business curricula. [The Portfolio hc, published in June, was a New York Times best seller.-Ed.]-Dale Farris, Groves, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A former top GM executive and avowed gearhead warns against the advance of soulless number-crunchers clueless about the hands-on details of the car business.To Lutz (Guts: 8 Laws of Business from One of the Most Innovative Business Leaders of Our Time, 2003), it's not rocket science: Design and build the cars and trucks that customers want, and the rest will fall into place. This was his job as a GM vice chairman from 2001 to 2010. At the tableif not running the meetingwhen most of the big decisions came down, the author, now in his late 70s, was often appalled by youthful bean-counting MBAs with their 4.0 GPAs but no common car sense.What matters, Lutz argues, is having on board at least one automotive artist with the talent to design desirable new cars. The author's talent, equally rare, was recognizing a good design, or a bad one drawn to bean-counter specs. His frequent criticism of the press is sometimes churlish, as when he alleges that unnecessarily harsh and ill-informed lefty journalism gave the Hummer H2on which he signed offan unjustifiably bad rep. He closes with the recognition that having a media-savvy, talking-head CEO is now a must and in the best interest of the business in which he worked for 47 years. The author also predicts GM's battery-and-gas-powered Volt will dominate the highways of the future, and he includes close accounts of GM's 2009 bankruptcy, government bailout and subsequent reemergence as a trimmed-down shadow of its former corporate self.Well worth the rideif not necessarily the car.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.