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Car Guys Vs. Bean Counters [Hardcover]

Bob Lutz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 July 2011
In 2001, General Motors hired Bob Lutz out of retirement with a mandate to save the company by making great cars again. He launched a war against penny pinching, office politics, turf wars and risk avoidance. After declaring bankruptcy during the recession of 2008, GM is back on track thanks to its embrace of Lutz's philosophy. Lutz's common sense lessons (with a generous helping of fascinating anecdotes) will inspire readers at any company facing the bean counter analysis-paralysis menace.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: PORTFOLIO (21 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844006
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 350,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One man's opinions...Lutz's 26 July 2011
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:MP3 CD
Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic when I began to read this book but, that said, I was disappointed in what the book offers because I expected from Bob Lutz a more balanced analysis of his career in the automotive industry. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the subtitle. There are many warriors on many different battlefields and Lutz was indeed a formidable adversary but, that said, there is nothing in this book to suggest that his ultimate objective was to save "the soul of American business." Moreover, he offers little indication that others should share credit for the victories he cites nor does he share blame for defeats. The book is part memoir and part jeremiad. I think it would have been more interesting and more informative had he resisted the temptation to write "One Good Guy vs The Bad Guys Who Don't Get It."

With regard to my rating, I think the historical material (covering several decades) is worth at least two stars and I added another for Lutz's eyewitness (albeit subjective) opinions of what he experienced. I also think the last chapter, "If I Had Been CEO," is worth another star. Lutz immediately concedes that the chapter's material is "highly conjectural." Indeed it is. To a point I made earlier, there is no indication in this chapter that the soul of American business would have been saved had he been a CEO. However, would it have been sufficient had he ensured that GM, Chrysler, and Ford avoided the mistakes that caused so many problems for them? He was a senior-level executive at all three and presumably not a passive observer in the C-suite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real men don't pump PowerPoints 6 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bob Lutz belongs to a dying breed which will be missed when it's gone. Garrulous, opinionated, politically incorrect and unstintingly frank, it's hard to see how he ever made it in corporate America, and harder yet to see how his like will ever make it again.

More is the pity is my assessment and, for that matter, his too.

Over a long career Lutz has held senior positions at all the big US automobile manufacturers and at least one European one. The closest he came to outright CEO was an eight year spell as Vice Chairman at General Motors from 2000 until its filing for Bankruptcy Protection in 2008.

This book - Lutz' second - entertainingly recounts that period and GM's corporate history leading up to it; a history, in Lutz' telling, organised around the theory that GM was, from its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, laid low by the cult of Total Quality Management.

I must declare something of an interest: I work in an industry, and for an organisation, suffering a similar blight. Lutz' passionate peroration rang resonantly with me.

Now, of course, everyone believes things aren't quite what they used to be. But even without knowing much about cars it's hard to argue that any vehicle in GM's 1998 fleet could bear favourable comparison with a '57 Chevvy, a '65 GTO or a '68 Camaro.

By 1998 the fall from grace was complete. Lutz identifies a number of factors at work. Some have the air of hobby horses environmental skepticism) and bete noires (Toyota, and the "left wing" media's love affair with it); many go against the political grain and are expressed indelicately (if entertainingly) enough to prompt those who wish to, to write the book off altogether: pooh-poohing concerns about the melting ice cap, Lutz remarks "Hello!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob Lutz Re-directs the Automotive Dinosaur 27 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At an age when mere mortals would be happily retired, US automotive legend Bob Lutz accepts the task of managing all of GM's new product delivery. Unbelievable that a corporate management appraisal system could encourage otherwise capable people to ignore styling reviews and accept insane new product targets for carry over components, but that's what was happening. How else could the Pontiac Aztek have made it into volume production? Only the guys in charge of pick up trucks, large SUVs and the Corvette appeared to be delivering desireable vehicles, and that was only for the North American market.
This book will be of most interest to those in the car industry, but should tempt anyone with an interest in large, arrogant, American multi-nationals and a an over reliance on analysis versus common sense.
Not everyone will agree with Bob's views, but he makes some interesting points. For example, why the media anti-SUV focus when such vehicles are way more useful than sports cars and GTs? A good SUV will carry as many people as a mini-van, tow boats or horse boxes and cope with poor roads and bad weather. The sports car owner will likely enjoy the same purchase cost and fuel consumption but only carry two people, limited luggage and only beat the SUV up a mountain pass or on an empty Autobahn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting to read about the US car industry 5 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Certainly an eye opener as to what went on in the US auto industry and well worth a read for anyone with an interest in its rise and demise......
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bob Lutz hits the nail on the head. Business these days is being stifled by too much emphasis on performance management, inappropriate systems and quack initiatives sold to naive CEO's by snake oil salesman management consultants. To succeed you need innovation and creative thinking which has to be counterbalanced by the beancounters watching the pennies don't get wasted. To quote a Yorkshire business man: In a cricket team you employ the Batsmen to bat, the Bowlers to bowl and Fielders to field. You don't let the Scorer run the show.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book if you stick with it
When I first started this book, I thought I had made a mistake. The first part is a rant against the American government and how they've handled the American car industry. Read more
Published 15 months ago by rps
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in either US business history or cars. I grew up in Detroit and thought I knew it all. Read more
Published 23 months ago by MaryAnn
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love cars, this book is unmissable! You will laugh and cry!
Wow this is a no holds barred insight in to the beloved super producer General Motors.
Lutz, a respected Auto industry figure and ex Marine ( Though legend says once a Marine... Read more
Published on 17 July 2012 by mike beausang
3.0 out of 5 stars Light but entertaining fare
Bob Lutz has always been known to speak directly, and not to mince words. The book has quite a few entertaining anecdotes about him sparring with colleagues within GM which bear... Read more
Published on 15 Oct 2011 by Paul Blokland
5.0 out of 5 stars how the car guys won
Well worth the money. A very interesting book about the Bean Counters trying to overcome the wishes of the Car Guys
Published on 29 Sep 2011 by LuLu
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite entertaining
I was recommended this book by a car magazine I read regularly. I work in a corporate environment (although not in the motor industry) and I've always been interested in an honest... Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2011 by Hibee_7
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