GM’s most outspoken advocate and highly regarded product guru, Bob Lutz, has announced plans to retire from his position at General Motors at the end of the year.

GM's most outspoken advocate and highly regarded product guru, Bob Lutz, has announced plans to retire from his position at General Motors at the end of the year.

Lutz will leave his role as vice chairman of global product development effective April 1 and transition to the role of vice chairman and senior advisor. He will continue to provide input regarding GM's global product strategy and initiatives, until he officially retires at the end 2009. Thomas G. Stephens will take over Lutz's position as vice chairman of global product development where he will oversee the company's global quality initiatives and powertrain engineering.

Lutz joined GM in 2001 and oversaw a massive transition in the company's vehicle design and interior quality. Bland designs and bean-counter interiors were a thing of the past under his stewardship, his push for excellence led to the creation of some of GM's best vehicles in decades including the Cadillac CTS, Corvette ZR-1, Chevy Malibu, and the car that started it all, the Pontiac Solstice. More recently he has become the company's biggest advocate for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. His 46 year career in the automotive industry also included stints at Ford, Chrysler and BMW.

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