Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business

Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business

by Bob Lutz

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591844006
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
Publication date: 06/09/2011
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Bob Lutz held senior leadership positions at GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW over the course of an unparalleled forty-seven-year career, culminating in his vice chairmanship of General Motors from 2001 to 2010. He is the bestselling author of Guts: The Seven Laws of Business That Made Chrysler the World's Hottest Car Company.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition vii

Preface xi

1 The Beginning 1

2 An Unstoppable Force 7

3 The Beginning of the End 13

4 A Failed "Culture of Excellence" 40

5 Ground Zero 74

6 "Here's What We're Going to do First" 80

7 Tackling the 800-Pound Gorilla 109

8 Learning to Go Global (What Took So Long?) 132

9 Chevrolet Volt: ("I'll Let You Explain it to the Board") 145

10 Meltdown and Rebirth 167

11 What's With American Business Anyway? (Ask the Dogs!) 196

12 Of Management Styles 203

13 If I Had Been CEO 212

14 And in Conclusion 227

Acknowledgments 231

Index 233

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This book should be required reading for every young person who seeks a business degree. That applies equally to the current management of GM.”
—David E. Davis, Jr., former editor and publisher of Car and Driver
 
“This is exactly what you’d expect from Bob Lutz: no holds barred, no punches pulled, and no stone left unturned. It’s a true insider’s perspective and a great read.”
—Stephen J. Girsky, vice chairman of General Motors
 
Car Guys vs. Bean Counters is the best book written by an auto industry insider since Iacocca in 1984, and deserves to be shelved alongside Alfred P. Sloan’s management classic, My Years with General Motors.”
Fortune

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Car Guys vs. Bean Counters 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an easy to read book about the auto industry in the US and specifically about what has been going on at GM for the last few years. Lutz also gives great insight into managing a huge corporation in a very competitive industry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book provides an account of GM's internal operations over several decades, and an analysis of the events that led to the decline of the corporation. Lutz also delivers general business lessons throughout the text. I give the book 5 stars, but I was disappointed that the NOOK version does not include the images of the hard cover edition, which serve as examples for the text.
Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
With the recent down turn of the economy, no industry has suffered more than America's large automobile companies. In Car Guys vs Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business by Bob Lutz, the author delves into the inner workings of General Motors (GM). He holds nothing back and tells it like he sees it. Before being brought in to help turn around GM, Lutz had a successful career in the auto industry. This book gives you a behind the scenes tour of an organization that simply got too large and lost its way. The vision and excitement of the "car guys" was replaced with the intellectually motivated and dull "bean counters". Lutz does do a good job explaining the evolution of cars from concept, design, and production. The continuous challenge to be innovative and design a car that consumers will buy. Lutz shares his small victories and continuous frustrations within the bureaucracy of this large multinational company. He was in the midst of the storm when three forces almost ended GM, the credit crunch, rising gasoline cost, and out of control legacy cost. He freely shares what he would have done if he were in charge and chronicles how he simple gave up and left the company after vicious attacks of the auto industry by the media and politicians. Car Guys vs Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business by Bob Lutz is a good book to realize that in business all you need is a good product and ask lots of people to buy while not forgetting to dream big.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are a few insights to be gained here, for sure, and a peek behind the scenes showing how car companies are managed - but mostly it's just a huge disorganized rant that never seems to be going anywhere. Bob Lutz spends huge swaths of the text railing against the assorted things that he thinks made GM come so close to the brink, you get the feeling that maybe liberal academics, Al Gore, CAFE standards, and labor unions don't really factor in as much as he seems to claim. The premise - that having accountants dictate your product line instead of "product guys" leads to disaster - is an interesting one worth exploring. Instead this comes across as a 200-page quest to find a scapegoat.
ElectricRay on LibraryThing 10 months ago
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 position 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! Polar Bears can swim!"Many, however, are insightful and benefit greatly in their expression from Lutz' direct approach. Lutz writes simply, clearly, and with great humour.Chief among his targets, as the book's title suggests, is the cult of the management consultancy which has swept the world since the summer of love. The relentless drive towards cost cutting, commoditisation, brand segmentation and regularisation - all things, Lutz concedes, which have their place in a well-run organisation - at the expense of product excellence, instead of in support of it (a component of product excellence is reliability and value for money, after all) is the operating cause of GM's long decline and fall. Lutz' anecdotes are never less than hilarious as they illustrate how process and efficiency was allowed to drown out all other components, including not just design and style but product quality itself. A $25,000 investment cannot be branded and flogged the same way a toothpaste can, and as long as the predominant management ethos is that it can (for decades GM assumed their customers chiefly wanted a low-cost means of conveyance from points A to B, and that anything more was a nice-to-have), the management strategy is bound to fail. For in that scenario GM is competing with the second hand car market, a fight it simply cannot win. And nor did it. Product excellence, Lutz argues compellingly, must be the overriding goal to which all other endeavours are aligned. Product line rationalisation is always justified if it permits greater focus of resources on better quality product. This is no more than a codification of the 80:20 rule. Somehow, with TQM, this truism of capital production was lost in the PowerPoint miasma.Lutz is equally perspicacious on the subject of regulation, and he isn't quite the gas-guzzling scorched earther you might expect. the sine qua non of GM's trouble was Government political weakness in response to the 1970s fuel crisis. Instead of doing what every other developed nation had long since done, and imposing taxes at the pumps to constrain demand, congress took the politically convenient measure of constraining supply, by imposing draconian constraints on engine capacity and configuration. Having for a gene
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A definte four-star book.Looking for a great guide toward car repairs? Here's the 21st century's greatest handbook on automobile repairs and/or remodelings!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He tells it like it is! Love the pics! History in the making.
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Jane Baker More than 1 year ago
Explains how GM made such poor cars due to a disfunctional organization populated by accountants and MBAs with no understanding of or concern about the customer.
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