More than just General Motors’ finances have emerged from decline this week. The company’s heavy-hitting product promoter, Bob Lutz, re-joined the workforce after retiring just a few months ago. Lutz was the “father” – the driving promotional force – of the GM Chevy Volt, GM’s first extended-range electric vehicle, by which the company hopes to compete with rivals with hybrid models. (The Chevy Volt is scheduled for release in 2010.) Lutz has the product development and promotion skills necessary, some suggest, to sell vehicles to skittish and cash-strapped consumers.
GM emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month through the sale of its assets. It pledged, in a press release, to build a “fresh lineup of [vehicles] with leading-edge designs and technologies that matter to both consumers and the environment” and to “develop a full range of energy-saving technologies, including advanced internal combustion engines, biofuels, fuel cells, and hybrids.” Nonetheless, some conservationists are concerned that the new GM will not focus adequately on environmentalism.
In the new GM, Lutz will be responsible for the creative elements of product design and customer relationships. He will, expectedly, contribute to GM’s new products the same passion that drove his work with the Volt. Analysts also speculate that he may give the Volt extra promotion in the company’s new structure.