Will he or won't he? Now Bob Lutz is stepping aside from a published interview suggesting the long-time automotive industry executive is contemplating retirement around 2010.

Will he or won't he?  Now Bob Lutz is stepping aside from a published interview suggesting the long-time automotive industry executive is contemplating retirement around 2010.  Lutz made an about-face when he sent an e-mail to Automotive News saying, "Read my lips: I am not thinking retirement."

In an interview with the Associated Press, the GM VP told the news wire, "I'd like to see the Volt launched because I think that is an absolutely critical product."

Lutz criticized the original article in his e-mail by saying, "Unfortunately, this was misinterpreted as a statement that I would retire at the end of 2010.  While this remains a possibility, it is not 'a plan'!"

The Chevrolet Volt is expected to be released in 2010.

Lutz may be backtracking from his statement because of the impact his sudden announcement of a desire to retire had on GM's stock price.  GM shares closed down $0.15 (-0.55%), but had traded at a loss of $0.94 at one point.

AP Detroit Bureau Chief Charles Hill responded to Lutz' criticism in a statement that read, "The context of the interview reported in our Dec. 11 story about Robert Lutz clearly was retirement. The story is an accurate account of the interview."

The AP story also points out that GM sales have dropped off nearly 6.1% in 2007, when compared with January to November of 2006.  GM car sales are down 8%, and truck sales have dipped 4.8% for the same period.

Lutz has been reported as a man who grants access only to those who publish favorable stories about him, while lambasting his critics.

"I serve at the pleasure of the GM Board of Dirctors," Lutz told Automotive News.

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