Veteran Lutz to head GM US operations

GENERAL MOTORS has announced that it is putting 69-year-old former Chrysler executive Bob Lutz in charge of its North American automotive operations, replacing Ron Zarrella.

Lutz's job is to revamp the GM range and get the cars selling. Lutz joined GM earlier this year to head product development. Lutz has always been a big fan of motorsport as a means of selling cars and came close to putting Chrysler into F1 in 1993. At the time they commissioned McLaren to build them a test car. That was run by Ayrton Senna and by Mika Hakkinen and it was thought that a deal had been struck but McLaren did a last-minute deal with Peugeot instead and GM decided against F1.

It is also worth noting that one of Lutz's closest collaborators in the Chrysler years was former Renault Sport technical director Francois Castaing. Lutz offered him a position at Exide when he left GM and Castaing took up the offer but he has not (as yet) been called in by Lutz at GM.

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